Fresh off the Page is PAT’s monthly 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.
In 2019 we are launching an ambitious new series where Asian New Zealand writers are challenged to write their first draft each month of a new work, presented live to you for the first time!
Stay tuned for our October reading:
Sweet, Sour and Salty
by John Rata
October 9th, 8.30pm Basement Theatre
Presenting our writers across 2019:
March: The Kamasutra Chronicles - Shriya Bhagwat-Chitale
April: How To Be a Great White Man - Natasha Lay
May: Not Woman Enough - Hweiling Ow
June: What have you become? - Bala Murali Shingade
July: The Doctors Monologue - Renee Liang
Aug: Homecoming - Janna Tay
Sept: Basmati B*tch - Ankita Singh
Oct: Sweet, Sour and Salty - John Rata
Nov: Why can’t you see the words I don’t say? (WORKING TITLE) - Uhyoung Choi
Dec: (UNTITLED) - Gemishka Chetty
For enquiries about programming or development opportunities for these plays, please contact us via our contact page.
Playmarket New Zealand
Creative Communities Trust
Albert Eden Local board (Website here)
Unitec, tapac and Q Theatre
the Asia New Zealand Foundation (2017)
Photos | John Rata
poster design | lindsay yee
by Ankita Singh
"If I may interrupt. I want your rice. You have the rice. If you don’t give me the rice...I will kill you. So, from my point of view, you don’t really have a choice. I mean, that’s what I am getting from this situation. But what do you think?"
In the not-so-distant future, Shiva and Bindu, two struggling women with ambitions outside of their cultural norms and polar-opposite personalities, are forced to work for Shiva’s brother, Abhi, at his Indian restaurant serving Auckland’s more precious illegal commodity - Basmati Rice. When Abhi is unexpectedly arrested, the two must quickly dispose of the restaurant's stock or be incriminated themselves.
Directed by Ahi Karunaharan with readers Shaan Kesha, Bala Murali Shingade, Gayatri Adi, Ravi Gurunathan, Ash Raju, Dylan Thuracingham and Rishabh Kapoor.
by Janna Tay
“My family doesn’t love me for me. They love me for whatever vision they want me to fulfil for them. I don’t get to be free. That’s not really love.”
Three women, one house. Three lives, one friendship. While trying to decide whether to renew their lease, three best friends try to navigate events that change their lives and force them to
question their relationships. Homecoming is a coming-of-age story for women of colour in their 20s, and for their bond more serious than romantic love: friendship.
Directed by Nahyeon Lee with actors Dhiya Redding, Meilin Wu, Jess Hong, Xana Tang and Tanya Corpuz.
The Doctor Monologues
by Renee Liang
His face was so close, I could smell stale coffee on his breath. “Fucking stupid piece of shit, writing things in the notes so I’ll get sued, who the hell do you think you are, you stupid bitch?”
Doctors are perfect and kind, right? Wrong. Using humour, theatrical mind tricks and role play, The Doctor Monologues draws back the curtains on the hidden epidemic of bullying and sexual abuse in medicine. A performance piece which may or may not be fictional, based on real life interviews with doctors in four countries.
Directed by Ahi Karunaharan, with actors Pamela Sidhu, Prateek Vadgaonkar, Ayesha Heble, Thomas Ding, Andy Wong and Geeling Ng
What Have You Become?
by Bala Murali Shingade
“What’s wrong with it?"
“We have to make it more... Indian.”
The surprise arrival of their grandparents forces a dysfunctional Indian New Zealand family to front an image painted by expectation - that of a normal, happy Indian family. In the ensuing weekend chaos, secrets are spilled, relationships are broken and true identities are revealed.
Directed by Sananda Chatterjee with actors Gayatri Adi, Ravi Gurunathan, Prateek Vadgaonkar, Utsav Patel, Saraid de Silva, Sneha Shetty, Mustaq Missouri
Not Woman Enough
by Hweiling Ow
"Things you shouldn’t say to someone with cancer.; 'I know someone else who’s had testicular cancer.' Testicles are not breasts. They are two completely different things you moron."
How do you define womanhood? First time playwright Hweiling Ow dives in the deep end with her debut work ‘Not Woman Enough’, chronicling three woman’s journeys with their unique bodies, and how they connect to 'womanhood' with the tangle of pressures they face.
Directed by Natasha Daniel, with actors Katlyn Wong, Teresa Lee and Amanda Grace Leo.
How to be a Great White Man
by Natasha Lay
"Let's face it, Tash - You’re Cio-Cio San, you’re Miss Saigon, you’re the go-go dancer in Bangkok who giggles at white dudes twice your age butchering your language."
14-year-old Natasha had an ambition - to leave a legacy like the white men in history books. She also made a vow - to never sleep with, let alone date, a cisgender, heterosexual white man. After being Shortlisted for Playmarket's 2018 Playwrights B4 25 award for the clever and heart wrenching Maniac (On The Dance Floor), Natasha Lay presents a sharp and emotional romp through issues of identity and an attempt at measuring the space between our past and future selves.
Directed by Ahi Karunaharan with actors Zak Enayat, Ravi Gurunathan, Bronwyn Ensor, Emily Campbell, Gemishka Chetty, Jen Huang and Shaan Kesha with host Marianne infante.
The Kamasutra Chronicles
by Shriya Bhagwat Chitale
“Sex, good sex, bad sex, more sex, no sex. And what’s next?”
A contemporary feminist response to the infamous ancient Indian text, Sage Vatsayana, the author of the original Kamasutra and the Muse Vasant Sena come alive and wedge themselves into the mundane domesticity of Ishita and Rishabh’s life.
New Year, New Writers Panel
What makes a good story? How do you grip an audience? And what do you do when faced with the daunting abyss of a blank page? 9 experienced theatre anb screen writers who have been through it all and created gold speak to their experiences.
Fresh off the Page 2018
2018 saw 43 Asian actors, 18 different Asian ethnicities, 10 Asian directors - all women, 12 Asian scripts, 7 of which were new New Zealand works. We mentored 4 new Asian writers to complete 3 film scripts and 1 full length play, in 3 different languages with 3 special guests and 12 poets performing 12 original works. Check out the year below!
Scenes from a Yellow Peril
by Nathan Joe
The final explosive reading of the year, “A collection of scenes for resisting assimilation" dissolves form and style but hits us with hard and hilarious truths and meta observations about Asian identity, performed in chorus and rapid fire poetry.
New Asian Writers Screen - Return
by Mayen Mehta, Hweiling Ow and Nahyeon Lee with Jesse Ung and Joshua Tan
PAT presents the development of our three film scripts for 2018.
An alt-right imagining of future New Zealand, an isolated woman who finds solace at Sky-City and a turbulent teenage dream were among the stories bursting onto the stage. Our two bonus mentees Joshua Tan and Jesse Ung showcased a bromance-turned-romance set in South Auckland and a meta exploration of the heroes journey told through the eyes of an aspiring comedian.
Thanks to writing mentors Ahi Karunaharan and Kathryn Burnett.
Directed by Nisha Madhan, performed by Shaan Kesha, Kellie Lacey, Marianne Infante and Bala Murali Shingade.
by Marianne Infante
This October we presented the triumphant first reading of Marianne Infante’s PINAY, the first Filipino Kiwi Bilingual play in New Zealand, as part of PATs continued development of this new and exciting 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.
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.
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 Wu, Sarah Nessia, Becky Kuek, Mai Nguyen and host Marianne Infante.
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 Arora, Rashmi Pilapitiya, Mustaq Missouri, Mayen Mehta, Ravi Llyod Gurunathan and host James Roque, with special guest; music by the talented Dhruv Mody.
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 Huang, Johannes 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! NZ Film Commission mentors met with 3 Asian NZ writers over a year as 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.
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, hosted by David Correos and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.