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Fresh off the Page

Each month we host Fresh off the Page, our playreading series where the hottest new scripts by Asian playwrights from NZ and around the world are performed and directed by Asian talent, all for free at The Basement theatre.

See you at our next free reading - ‘Pinay’ on October 17th at 8.30pm! 

Thanks to:

the Asia New Zealand Foundation (2017)

Creative Communities Trust, Albert/Eden Trust

Unitec, the New Zealand Film Commission

Basement Theatre and Q Theatre.

Photos by John Rata


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PINAY

by Marianne Infante

This October we presented the first reading of Marianne Infante’s PINAY, the first Filipino Kiwi Bilingual play in New Zealand, as part of PATs continued development of this work. 

Every day, people migrate to a new country hoping for "magandang kinabukassan", a better future. Hard headed and big hearted Mariella knows this reality all too well - but her free spirited daughter Alex is living another story entirely as she grapples with love and loss as a modern day Kiwi Filipino. 

Directed by Mia Maramara, read by Ivy Alvarez, Marwin Silerio, Tanya Corpuz, Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters, David Correos, Donna Dacuno, Kyle Shields with host Mayen Mehta.


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Spoken word and Poetry night

"You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what's in your heart."

What's Fresh off the Page without something fresh? In collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Renee Liang, a widely published poet and playwright, we showcased an electric mix of new and seasoned Asian poets, with pieces hilarious and heartbreaking. 

 Ivy Alvarez and her poem (right) “Langit ang buhay”

Ivy Alvarez and her poem (right) “Langit ang buhay”

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Directed by Renee Liang and performed by Ivy AlvarezChye-Ling HuangNathan JoeCheyenne LasamAlyssa MedelRavi Llyod GurunathanAngela ZhangHweiling OwGemishka ChettyAiwa Pooamorn and host Saraid De Silva.


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Remnants of the Silk Maker's Ghost

 by Dawn Cheong

Runner up in the 2012 NZ Adam Play Awards, Dawn Cheong's Remnants of the Silk Makers' Ghost takes place in an isolated British household in Malaya during the 1940s, occupied by three Cantonese maids and their mistress. The daily lives of these women are put to a standstill when an unexpected Japanese man mysteriously turns up injured on their doorstep.

"Remnant's of the Silk Makers' Ghost is ultimately a story about how these women, regardless of race or social class deal and experience the effects of love, loss, sacrifice and boundaries in an ever changing Malaya." - Dawn Cheong

Directed by Amanda Grace Leo with readers Meilin Wu, Anya Banerjee, Jason WuSarah NessiaBecky KuekMai Nguyen and host Marianne Infante.


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The Mourning After

by Ahi Karunaharan

The Mourning After is the first play Ahi has ever written and has had its stage debuts at the Basement Makers (2015) and Circa Theatre, Wellington (2012). Fresh Off the Page is very excited to get Ahi Karunaharan's words off the page again to celebrate The Mourning After's 10 year anniversary! 

Ahi says, "It's a play about a serious subject combined with comedy and drama, because I've found people often use humour as an ability to talk and process their grief without it consuming them. I brought this into the script, which is not about the disaster itself, but about the aftermath and how people move on." 

Directed by Sananda Chatterjee, with readers Sahil AroraRashmi PilapitiyaMustaq Missouri & Ravi Llyod Gurunathan and host James Roque.


Pretty Butch

by Tan Liting

"I knew that there were different rules for being a boy and for being a girl. You always let kor kor go to the playground by himself, but you always said it wasn’t safe for a girl to go out on her own. It was so unfair. Kor kor and I literally share the same blood, why did he get more privileges than I?"

Penned by one of Singapore's talented new writers, Tan Liting, Pretty Butch confronts gender expectations, following three stories of Singaporeans and how they deals with the concepts of masculinity in their lives.

Directed by Saraid Cameron and read by Chye-Ling HuangJohannes Sewu, Angela Zhang, Nathan Joe and Sherry Zhang, with host Marianne Infante.


New Asian Writers Night 2.0 - Screen

Asian writers are on the rise! PAT launched their partnership with the NZ Film Commission to mentor 3 Asian NZ writers over a year with professional script advisers. We were overwhelmed with almost 30 submissions from new Asian writers and are proud to announce the winners: Nahyeon Lee, Hweiling Ow and Mayen Mehta for their original screenplays. We will revisit the developed scripts later in the year - stay tuned!

Directed by Torum Heng with readers Ahi Karunaharan and Kat Wong, with special guest speaker Shuchi Kothari and host Marianne Infante.


Poop! 

By Chong Tze Chien

"Good morning principal, teachers and friends. Today I am going to tell you all a story. Once upon a time, long long time ago, my father flew out of the window, and died. I know, it's a very dark story. But the saddest part of the story is over already."

Penned by one of Singapore's most renowned playwrights, Poop! is a quirky and unexpected exploration of life, death and poop, following a young girl dying of cancer in Singapore. 

Directed by Alice Canton and read by Kalyani Nagarajan, Becky Kuek, Mustaq Missouri, Emily Campbell, featuring special guest Michael Zhang as our live illustrator!


Neang Neak's Legacy 

By Sorita Keo Kossamak So

"The least you can do is make something of yourself."

Having escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime in their homeland Cambodia, husband Veasna and wife Chantrea find themselves in Wellington. A decade after their arrival, they are confronted by the ghosts of their past. 

Directed by Sneha Shetty and starring Jen Huang, Sale Ilaua, Miguel Efondo, Rishabh Kapoor, Amanda Tito, Natasha Bunkall and Rishabh Kapoor. 


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Fresh off the Page 2017

41 Asian actors, 4 Asian directors, 17 theatre & film scripts by Asian playwrights, 10 brand new New Zealand works, one epic year! Check out the works featured in 2017 below.

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Ka-Shue (Letters Home)

By Lynda Chanwai-Earle

"Good luck, is what you need. A lot of it. How I suppose to get you out? Not even Kuomintang save us now."

Leaping across two continents and three generations leading up to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Lynda Chanwai-Earle's semi-autobiographical solo show Ka-Shue was the first authentically New Zealand–Chinese play for mainstream audiences. For our last reading of 2017 we celebrated one of New Zealand's pioneer Asian dramatists.

Directed by Chye-Ling Huang and starring Xana Tang and Marianne Infante.


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New Asian Writers Night

Ten excerpts from scripts in development, 15 actors, one epic night!

We invited ten Asian writers from Hawaii, the US and New Zealand to share scenes from their new screenplays and theatre scripts. A cast of 15 actors stormed the stage for night of risk-taking and bravery to a packed house. Coming again in 2018 - get writing!

Directed by Chye-Ling Huang and starring: Teresa Lee, Bala Murali Shingade, Hweiling Ow, Alice Canton, Dhruv Mody, Sanjay Menon, Amanda Grace Leo, Becky Kuek, Helen Wu, Kayne Peters, Phillip Good, Ryan See, Daniel Sing, Nahyeon Lee, Aiwa Pooamorn

Writers: Rona Wang, Tze "Ngā-Tai" Wee, Hweiling Ow, Ryan See, Becky Kuek, Michelle Huynh, Lou Yang, Sanjay Menon, Natasha Lay, Aiwa Pooamorn.


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Losing Face

by Nathan Joe (NZ)

"It's about a man who goes to Paris and falls for another man there. But he can't really deal with his feelings. It's a sad love story. I don't want to spoil it for you. Do you read much?"

A love story grappling with race, gender and fatherhood, Nathan Joe's first play is a hard emotional hitter asking if love really transcends all. Stereotyped roles are challenged as an older white male and a young Chinese immigrant fall for one another.

Directed by Torum Heng and starring Mel Odedra, Teresa Lee and Bala Murali Shingade.


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Asian Arts Engagement Crew

by Sam Wang (Australia)

"I saw a soup being made. That’s right, I saw a moment of fire in each and every one of you. And we are going build that fire. We’re going to build that fire and we’re going to cook that soup and we are going to serve that soup."


A satirical comedy about a group of corporate-hippie Asians trying to change the world by engaging more Asians in the arts…one powerpoint presentation at a time. Sam Wang's script in development takes its lead from TV's Community, forcing a rag tag group of Asian misfits to work together in a university funded “Let’s engage Asians in the Arts” committee. 

Directed by Alice Canton and starring Jen Huang, Anya Banerjee, Mayen Mehta, Rishabh Kapoor, Ravi Gurunathan, Emily Campbell, Natasha Bunkall and Anjula Prakash. 

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Conflict Circle

by Ellison Tan(Singapore)

"The artist wants to perish in his line of work. The artist wants to die with grandeur. How un-heroic. How absurd. The actor was dying all along. What have we done to let that happen to us?"

A young playwright with three professional productions under her belt, Conflict Circle is Singaporean playwright Ellison Tan's foray into the absurd. Conflict Circle challenges the nature of theatre and the futility and absurdity of performance as three actors find themselves in the roles of a director, a stage manager and an usher. 

Directed by James Roque and starring Mai Nguyen, Amanda-Grace Leo and Ryan See.

 
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Roots

by Oliver Chong (Singapore)

"My surname is also Chong. But my 'Chong' is different from yours. Yours has been castrated. So why bother to find any roots? You don't have roots any more."


Oliver Chong's famed solo show follows his quest to find his familial identity in a swirling melting pot that is Singapore. Digging up ghosts of the past and stumbling upon more questions than answers, he attempts to reclaim his past and shake the ‘Cultural Orphan’ status that Singaporeans grapple with. 

This bi-lingual read was directed by Chye-Ling Huang, starring Nikita Tu-Bryant (English), Helen Wu (Mandarin) and Amanda Grace Leo (English and Mandarin).

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Insomnia

by Nikorn Sae-Tang (Thailand)

"Aging is like a cow walking to the slaughterhouse, each step is closer and closer, and then you arrive there. They cut your throat, and you die. Everybody is the same.”

By one of Thailand's most venerated playwrights Nikorn Sae Tang, this is a harrowing account of of a banker living through the 'Tom Yam Goong' crisis, a financial collapse which rocked Thailand in 1997. Sucked into the crumbling nightmare of Chai’s world, we join him on the edge of financial, social and political instability as he struggles to remain awake.

This bi-lingual reading was directed by Chye-Ling Huang, starring Emily Campbell (English) and Bhavudhi Roongnirandon (Thai).

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Furthest North Deepest South

by Chong Tze Chien (Singapore)

"We are all the same; the lengths that we go to, to get what we want, make us all the same!"

This epic, absurd tale of eunuch explorer Cheng Ho takes us across the world in pursuit of manhood, the unknown and a higher purpose.

Directed by Chye-Ling Huang and starring Marwin Silerio, Becky Kuek, Utsav Patel, Benjamin Teh and Jen Huang.