Theatre goes the extra Moyle

Director Joe Paradise Lui and lead creative Jess Nyanda Moyle. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d496299
Director Joe Paradise Lui and lead creative Jess Nyanda Moyle. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d496299

THEATRE creative Jess Nyanda Moyle is so proud to be her mother’s daughter that she made The Blue Room Theatre and Squid Vicious production Cephalopod, but she was not so proud during her school days.

She came to Australia from the Philippines in 1994 as a one-year-old in her mother’s arms, with her parents wanting to give Moyle a new life.

“I used to be embarrassed about being a Filipina,” Moyle, of Victoria Park, said.

Picture: Andrew Ritchie

“I feel very lucky to have grown up in Australia (Joondalup). Both Mum and Dad made huge sacrifices so we could be here that there was this constant feeling for having to always be grateful, but there was also this lingering feeling that I was never enough.

“I had friends but I didn’t really fit in here, especially in schools where the students were predominantly white. Every time we visited the Philippines I sort of felt at home, but not knowing Tagalog, I couldn’t really talk to my family there.

“I hated the way I looked and didn’t feel at home in my own body. It wasn’t until I came out that I felt more at ease with myself, which is quite funny really, coming out as queer before coming out as Asian.”

Directed by fellow Asian-Australian creative Joe Paradise Lui, Cephalopod is an autobiographical migrant story that draws parallels between some cephalopod (including squid and octopus) behaviour and what Moyle said were “survival tactics for a queer second gen Filipina migrant”.

Picture: Andrew Ritchie

“The title encapsulates strangeness and otherness, feeling alien in your own body and home,” she said.

“Going from shame to pride is such a significant shift, but such a slow and painful one. Acceptance and celebration of self is a process that never really ends; we’re constantly evolving.”

The show battles against racism and colonialism and Moyle has been practicing her Pauline Hanson impressions between translating Australian pub anthems into Tagalog for a karaoke competition.

As lead creative on Cephalopod, Moyle said she mostly just wanted audiences to have fun but understood the production’s political nature simply by her being a queer Filipina-Australian.

“I’m hoping audiences come in with an open heart, because I’m sort of opening mine up to them,” she said.

“I don’t want to set out to change people’s minds, or to make something transformative; that’s way too much pressure. I’m just talking about my Mum and I and unpacking that experience in a way that I hope people find is visually exciting and genuine.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Cephalopod

Where: The Blue Room Theatre

When: October 29 to November 16

Tickets: www.blueroom.org.au