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Koroseta | Review


Written by Gabbie De Baron (she/her) @gabizzlesizzle | Social Media Coordinator

How does it feel like to be a twenty-two year old Samoan woman dealing with grief amidst an emotionally complex environment, you ask? Well Koroseta answers. Created by Lealofitaute Vaai, Koroseta is a production at Basement Theatre that absolutely transcends expectations. It explores the emotional journey of its eponymous hero, after the sudden death of a loved one, and how she is ‘forced to face the music within a traditional Pasifika household’. It opens a dialogue to what it means to be a young woman of colour, how we constantly have to perform, to be steady, while our minds never rest. 

The show felt like an inner monologue. The only props on the stage were ‘natural’ ones, chairs made out of wood, a blue lavalava, and a fala, possibly nodding to ‘Tapu’. This is the belief that all life is sacred, which echoes the main theme of the play through grief. The play brilliantly paints a picture of how the audience should imagine the setting, considering the set itself was just plain brown. There would be a voice that would read out notifications on her phone and the ringtone that comes along with it. It blasts through the speakers, and all of this is done with Koroseta only staring at her palm. It felt like we were in her head, reading those messages. 

There was a recurring motif of a family portrait constantly falling off the wall, which Koroseta is haunted by. Every time it falls she’s forcefully woken up from her sleep, leaving her to face her grief and emotions. It was interesting how all five actors were present on stage all throughout. If they had no lines, they all faced the wall in a line, wearing black. Their backs turned against the audience. This nodded to the idea that Koroseta always restricted herself from her grief because she had these family members  in the back of her mind. 

Adyhana Urika Filifilia plays the titular role phenomenally, with their captivating voice and ability to cry on cue. The emotional depth it takes to show repressed hurt, while carrying a tune maybe something only theatre geniuses can do. The rest of the cast is outstanding and the production was well executed. The play could have been a bit longer, so that we could witness more complex situations of how Koroseta deals with grief. These situations could be a more concentrated conversation with a friend, or her mother, or what she wished she could say to the one who passed. Koroseta is a theatre show that proves less really is more, especially when you let your creativity take the wheel. Having five actors, limited props, well-thought of voiceovers, and a proper quintet, can really make a production worth it.

In the heart of South Auckland, where the echoes of laughter and joy once filled the air, a somber tale unfolds. Koroseta is a theatre show that explores the labyrinthe journey of grief after the sudden death of a loved one. Forced to face the music within a traditional Pasifika household, Koroseta seeks provocations from her ancestral lands to guide her use of poetry and music to reclaim emotional and mental agency in a space that does not welcome it.


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