Fresh off the Page
Each month we host Fresh off the Page, our playreading series where the hottest contemporary Asian scripts from NZ and around the world are performed by fresh Asian talent and directed by established Asian directors, all for free at The Basement theatre.
This year we hosted:
41 Asian actors
4 Asian directors
17 theatre and film scripts by Asian playwrights, 10 of which were brand new New Zealand works
Thanks to our funders the Asia New Zealand Foundation, Creative Communities Trust, Unitec, Basement Theatre and Q Theatre. We'll be back next year with a host of new plays and fresh talent - see you in 2018!
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. Keep your eyes peeled for more script development opportunities coming in December!
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.