Brown, it really is complicated

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Basement

Our blogger Jonty had a chat to Antonia Stehlin on her upcoming show Brown, It’s Complicated, opening in the Studio next week.

What can we expect from the show?

You will definitely be receiving Pacific Island humour (because we are Pacific Islanders and that’s just how we role). Haha! There is live singing and live percussion mashed together with movement, poetry and dance but most importantly, a very good story – one that is original played out by two greatly talented actors, Selu Iloahefaiva and Samuel Kamu.

Were there any particular experiences that inspired the show?

This piece was birthed out of experience. The two actors expressed the challenges they had to face being two of three brownies in a dominantly white class. Unfortunately, their experience is all too familiar to the wider Pacific Island community, so Brown, It’s Complicated was birthed. In developing the show we drew on many not-so-great experiences, not just our own, but those of our wider Pacific Community, which unfortunately so many of us can relate to in one form or another.

How difficult is it to avoid cliches?

Not difficult at all when you have a story that has not been told before. I don’t believe it’s a cliche if it is still a reality.

What have you learnt from developing the show?

From the feedback of our outside eyes, I have learnt just how important it is to do this piece. This piece is very confronting but it’s the voice of our Pacific communities. Here is a piece about what we talk about in our circle of friends, in our families, but never out in public. I am learning to remain in our culture and present it in a way that does not take away from who we are as a people and it is greatly rewarding. There have been avenues made available to us with where we could go and how this show could form and shape, but we always had to take a step back, look at it from our Pacific Island community eyes, and readjust. In developing the piece, I’ve realized this is so much bigger than us.

Do you think we are becoming a more or less integrated society?

I think Brown, it’s complicated will answer this question, or at least bring some enlightenment to it.

Brown, It’s Complicated will be on from the 25 – 29 Oct. More information and tickets can be found here. More of Jonty’s writing can be found on his blog