Entertainment | Theatre

Lusi Faiva dreams of becoming a paraplegic actor

‘AIGA’: A disability theatre show that tells the story of Wellingtonian, Lusi Faiva and her journey to the sgtage.

A mini autobiography of the life of an aspiring disability actor is being brought to the theatre stage in an upcoming show called AIGA.

The story of Lusi Faiva delves into identity, aiga (family), and desire, weaving through her life from her youth in 1960s Samoa to the present day.

The show captures the beauty and complexity of Faiva’s journey through music, movement, and dramedy.

Three years in the making, AIGA fulfills Faiva’s dream of becoming an actress, thanks to the disability-led direction of the arts company Touch Compass.

A disability show led by a disability theatre production team allows Faiva and her team to express themselves authentically, honoring the concept of “crip time” and “crip space.”

“Crip time” is used to describe both a flexible approach to punctuality and the extra time needed by disabled individuals to accomplish tasks or arrive at a destination. “Crip space” is a place where disability is celebrated.

The show is a collaborative effort, drawing not only from Faiva’s life but also from the experiences of performers of diverse backgrounds, including Iana Grace Pauga (Joint Venture), Forest V Kap (John Doe), and Alex Medland (The Dog House NZ), as well as support writer and actor Fiona Collins.

Faiva is an artist of Samoan (Patamea, Savai’i) and European heritage and has had a 30-year journey as a dancer and founding member of Touch Compass.

Her accolades include several awards recognising her passion, including the Arts Access Pak’nSave Artistic Achievement Award (2021) and the Spirit of Attitude Award (2020) for creating achievements for the disability community.

The creative team of AIGA promises to create a compelling tale that evokes laughter, tears, and deep contemplation — a narrative Faiva says “demands attention.”

Touch Compass is a professional arts organisation in Aotearoa, that champions disability-led initiatives and delivering performances and inclusive education.

The show will open at Te Pou Theatre from March 20 to 24, as part of the Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival.