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Inspiring Solo Show Explores who she is

LIU CHEN

February 14 2018

 Amanda Grace Leo stars in Oliver Chong's epic autobiographical play. Photo: Andi Crown Photography

Amanda Grace Leo stars in Oliver Chong's epic autobiographical play. Photo: Andi Crown Photography

Singaporean-Kiwi actress Amanda Grace-Leo will perform the solo show Roots at Uxbridge Theatre in Howick on February 23-24.

One of Singapore's favourite solo shows Roots is coming to the stage of Howick's Uxbridge Theatre for its New Zealand premiere on February 23-24.

The play, presented by Proudly Asian Theatre (PAT) as part of this year's Auckland Lantern Festival programme, follows a woman's quest to find her family identity in the cultural confusion of the country in South-East Asia.

While setting out on a journey to China to reclaim her past, Hsu Hsien, the main character, ends up stumbling upon more questions.

The story follows a woman's quest to find her family identity in the cultural melting pot of Singapore.

The Roots show was originally written and performed by Singaporean actor-director Oliver Chong, and it's the first time he has given permission for another performer to take on the role.

The NZ version has also changed the gender of the character to suit Singaporean-Kiwi actress Amanda Grace-Leo.

Chye-Ling Huang, director of the new version, says parents and children can come together and have their different lived experiences acknowledged.

"I think that New Zealand and Singapore both share a lot in terms of identity crisis journeys," Huang says.

"We're both young countries with a lot of diasporic communities and this story is likely to resonate with a lot of different communities."

 Photo: Andi Crown Photography

Photo: Andi Crown Photography

PAT has adapted the script to make it bilingual for Kiwi audiences, with surtitles in both English and Chinese languages, meaning the show is also accessible for the hearing impaired.

It's also the first time the theatre company is branching out into Auckland's suburbs, which has up until now only showed works in the city.

After the Uxbridge Theatre performances, it will take Roots to play at the Q Theatre in Auckland city.