A nice, nasty night out

Will Rollins

Brian Fuata, Fa'fafines

Brian Fuata, Fa'fafines

Mr Fuata has a very nice speaking voice. A nice leg. Very fetching in Cottontails. A nice head. Shaven smooth as a baby’s bum. Big eyes. Big lips. Everything very nicely rounded. Embraceable. Charismatic too. He doesn’t have to do much. Just recite his prose poems about his mummy in that voice. That’d be quite enough, thank you. But tonight he’s here there and everywhere, very nicely done, yes, very stylish, new man, new persona. Prancer. Teaser. Cajoler. Manipulator. Natter natter. He’s cocky. He’s confident. He’s a mover. He fairly dances. Corrals all the gay men, and then all the others, up on stage with him. All on view. Ladies night out…but not exactly the Chippendales. If only he’d keep still, lie down!, we could listen properly and play psychoanalyst. So Mummy subsconciously wanted you to be a Fa’afafine, is that it? Is that the gist? Sit still! She queered you good and proper without knowing it. That it? And so did TV, all those fuckable white men: “Fucking white men has never been an option, but a cultural imperative. It is for the benefit of anthropology.” Tres witty! And superstition, “The foreskin has medicinal properties. You (Mother) softly rub mine on your sick eye while I stupidly argue with the girls in the family over how I can’t see the television.” And what you were not, “And after swimming around these strangers’ legs, I swam out from underneath the table and into the midnight streets, realising, for the first time, I can never have what these women had.” And, Jesus, did this happen? “…she would genuflect her stupid knees, sit on her arse on the floor, cross her legs like Buddha—‘what more can you do to please me?’—and I would position my groin like lamb on marble and she would receive…into her eye…Jesus.” And then she, your mother, is ritually beaten because she is possessed by a dead aunt. And your brother and sisters are culturally all over the shop. And you fall in love with a dying man, “Skin decorated with lesions…While my fingers were circling his arse I was the prodigal son realised on a white male pattern…for the first time I felt properly Samoan.” Say again? This is heavy. I can’t keep up. We’re out of time. Make an appointment for…But, my, but you’ve slipped into something astonishing, so climactic, so peacocky, so proud while so loquaciously abject. “I find a ready-poured glass of cold cow’s milk (my favourite of all secretions). I am overwhelmed by your powers of suggestion. You turn me on and I don’t like it.” Who exactly turns you on? Mother? See your own Mother’s Commandments no 9, “Never seduce your mother.” Well, not exactly a nice night out, but so charming a host, so ably playing himself. One more persona in the unfolding life of Brian Fuata, this time high camp, elegant (well-styled Mr Kellaway!), mouth as usual delightfully and so informatively in the gutter. So much to think about. I think you’ll enjoy Fa’afafine. I know I did.

Quotations are taken from the performance texts by Brian Fuata provided by Urban Theatre Projects.

Urban Theatre Projects, Fa’afafine, writer-performer Brian Fuata, director Nigel Kellaway, sound designer Liberty Kerr, dramaturg Damien Millar, lighting & video design Simon Wise, costume Carlos Gomez, concept Harley Stumm; Performance Space, Sydney, Nov 22 – Dec 2

RealTime issue #47 Feb-March 2002 pg. 38

© Will Rollins; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 February 2002
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