Pacific play Fresh Off the Boat made its debut 25 years ago and now it being reborn for a new generation at Christchurch’s Court Theatre.
Set in 1990s Christchurch, this comedy follows Charles as he emigrates from Samoa to New Zealand to join his sister and her family for a new life.
However, he soon realises it does not match up to the fantasy he was promised.
Directed by original cast member Tanya Muagututi’a, whose arts organisation Pacific Underground first presented Fresh Off the Boat in 1993 says this production milestone is a family affair.
Tanya’s daughters Talia-Rae and Josephine Mavaega are in the production while her husband and Musical Director for Pacific Underground Pos Mavaega is the Sound Designer.
Tanya’s brother-in-law Tony De Goldi, (partner of Mishelle Muagututi’a, who was in the original production) is Set Designer.
“It’s special because I’m working with my daughters – and they’re playing the sisters I played with Mishelle 25 years ago,” Tanya says.
Alongside Talia-Rae and Josephine, the cast includes Sela Faletolu-Fasi, Jake Arona, Roy Snow and Albany Peseta.
“It is also special, because Fresh Off the Boat is being performed by and for a whole new generation,” Tanya adds.
Written by Oscar Kightley (bro’Town; Sione’s Wedding) and Simon Small, the play found rave success around the country in 1993, before embarking on a tour of both Australia and Samoa, with Tanya playing the role of Ula for three years.
“I think it’s amazing that we get to put this story on The Court Theatre’s mainstage, back home for a new generation who may have never come across this play before - it’s very nostalgic for me,” Tanya says.
With plenty of ‘90s throwbacks to look forward to, audiences can expect an uproarious comedy that will also be extremely affecting.
“Audiences will enjoy the humour, then realise there are actually serious issues still relevant today being discussed.
“People are still coming to New Zealand with the expectation of arriving in the land of milk and money; coming here for a better life,” she says.
“But is it really a better life?”
Fresh Off the Boat opens on October 19 and runs until November 9, 2019.