O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai I The Liar, the Thief, and the Coward

Date: Friday 08 March 2024

Venue: ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland CBD

Restrictions: PG

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A darkly comic exploration of the fa’a sāmoa, where family, leadership and legacy converge in spectacular chaos.

“You’re not going to live forever. If you cark it tomorrow, who’s going to lead?”

In Sāmoa’s not-so-distant past, Pili Sā Tauilevā is a proud Ali’i (chief) in the village of Moa. He has devoted his life to the sacred fa’a sāmoa tradition of service. When he suddenly falls gravely ill and refuses to name a successor, his daughter and son become rivals for the title.

In a sacred paradise where “your path to leadership is through service”, Pili’s dwindling light sends the family into overdrive to keep the fire going. But nothing plays out as expected when others come out to join the race.

Power, politics and tradition collide in this darkly comic piece by Natano Keni (Sāmoa/Aotearoa) and Sarita So (Khmer/Aotearoa). It is a commentary on the growing divide between those who have chosen to stay and those who have chosen to leave.

Using both English and Gagana Sāmoa, O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai | The Liar, the Thief, and the Coward is a modern tale of a man who’s out of step with the times and whose time is running out. Who then will survive?

A collaboration between Auckland Theatre Company, Auckland Arts Festival and I Ken So Productions.