Viewing entries tagged
Proudly Asian Theatre

Tickets are LIVE for Tide Waits For No Man - Auckland Fringe!

Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 3.21.43 PM.png

Tide Waits For No Man comes to the Auckland Fringe Festival this Feb

After a stellar debut season at BATS in Wellington, Nikita Tu-Bryant’s transformative puppetry, physical theatre and shadow play theatre show comes to the Basement this summer in collaboration with SPOOKY ANTICS and Proudly Asian Theatre.

Telling the story of one woman’s quest to reconcile cultural patriarchy in her grandfathers passing, this show is non verbal and is suitable for hearing impaired and non English speakers.

Get your tickets here!

Tide Waits For No Man

Feb 19th - 23rd

Basement Theatre, 6.30pm

Starring and director by Nikita Tu-Bryant,

with Marianne Infante and Chye-Ling Huang

Grace-64.jpg
Grace-74.jpg
Grace-15.jpg

“Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace stands out for its inventive use of different forms of dance and movement, shadow puppets and three-dimensional puppets in combination...it’s a triumph of this production that the different modes are woven together so seamlessly and skilfully." - Theatreview

Orientation wins the Hackman Cup at the Auckland Theatre Awards!!

IMG_6239.jpg

We are supremely honoured and incredibly stoked as the The Auckland Theatre Awards were announced this arvo!


Our Q Matchbox production Orientation is the winner of the Hackman Cup for Most Original Production!!

And - our amazing SM, producer for Fresh off the Page, performer in Tide Waits For No Man and first time playwright or PINAY Marianne Infante, and our incredibly talented production designer, set designer and costume designer Micheal McCabe were BOTH awarded Outstanding Newcomer award for 2018!


Thank you to everyone who has supported PAT and the team over this incredible year. Your votes and support make it clear that the work we create is necessary - here's to continuing to challenge stereotypes, empowering marginalised voices and making hot messes in 2019!

48348619_2150775648307134_5037528272024371200_o.jpg

THE TEAM OF ORIENTATION:

Kelly GilbrideNahyeon LeeNatasha Anthea LayRuby Reihana-WilsonKhalid ParkarMicheal McCabeEmi PogoniMarianne InfanteAlistair KwunChye-Ling HuangAhi KarunaharanCindy JangNatasha BunkallMayen MehtaMarwin Maui SilerioKyle ChuenEugene YaoPaul LewisJacqueline DrewCalvin SangLindsay YeeSacha Stejko

And special thanks to those who participated in our development workshops.


Check out the rest of the awards here:

https://www.facebook.com/aktheatreawards/



"Complex, personal, beautifully executed" - Theatrereview for Tide Waits For No Man

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Tide Waits For No Man opened to a packed Wellington audience for a PAT first!

Thanks to Tim Stevenson from Theatereview for our first review of the season, running til Saturday 8th.

Check it out here or below!

Tickets here


INVENTIVE USE OF DANCE, MOVEMENT AND PUPPETRY

Review by Tim Stevenson


Complex, personal, beautifully executed and drawing on a rich and diverse palette, Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace presents a narrative about a young Taiwanese artist raised in Aotearoa grappling with the conflicting calls of love, self-realisation and traditional cultural imperatives. 

The conflicts which Grace (Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant) must deal with are brought to a head by the death of her Ye-ye*, a patriarchal figure who will appear throughout the show in different guises - benign and protective, overbearing and hostile, even aggressive. We can guess that Grace’s Ye-ye also personifies the rule makers who lay down the expectations for women - ‘Clean’, ‘Silent’, ‘Calm’ - which break up the narrative into sections.

The complexity of the culture or cultures within which Grace is trying to live and grow is also mirrored in what we see on stage. What appear to be traditional Taiwanese/ Chinese elements come to the fore here, including the white costumes of the two mourners (Chye-Ling Huang, Marianne Infante) who also appear as part of the narrative, and the figure of Ye-ye himself. However, we are also shown contemporary/ traditional and old/ young divisions, and the show’s conclusion is expressed in part by Grace dressing in an outfit that integrates all elements.

Grace-27.jpg

Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace uses a variety of theatrical modes to deliver its narrative, and it stands out for its inventive use of different forms of dance and movement, shadow puppets and three-dimensional puppets in combination. This approach means that the action on stage is constantly shifting in mode and also location, which makes for a more varied vocabulary but also places particular demands on the performers. It’s a triumph of this production that the different modes are woven together so seamlessly and skilfully.

This is a striking-looking show which demonstrates a keen sense of visual impact. The bridge / path projected on the backdrop in particular – like an image from a traditional Chinese silk painting – is both dramatically effective and beautiful. The first appearance of Ye-ye on stage (as opposed to on the backdrop) is a highlight.

The production has a very strong cast who have obviously worked hard and closely together to create a unified narrative out of so many moving parts.

Tu-Bryant’s performance is a tour de force: powerful, flexible, committed, expressive.

Huang and Infante display skill and versatility in their dual roles as mourner and puppeteer. Infante has also done the choreography, drawing on an impressive and eloquent range of styles.

Variety and cultural diversity are also a feature of the highly effective sound effects and musical accompaniment, designed by the versatile Tu-Bryant. 

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

The sound and lighting operators (Nic Cave-Lynch, lighting; Wendy Collings, sound) deserve the enthusiastic applause they receive at the end. A production like this, which switches modes so frequently, relies on technical effects being delivered dead on cue every time, and Cave-Lynch and Collings never drop a stitch. 
 - - - - - - - - - - |
*Google translates ‘Ye-ye’ as ‘grandpa’ in Mandarin. Your reviewer notes that Google doesn’t always get translations right and apologises for any offence given. 

Photo Credit: Kenneth Chapman

Mother tongues - Nikita Tu-Bryant's take on a bilingual upbringing

“How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?”

Artist, performer and first time director Nikita Tu-Bryant shares her story ahead of her debut non-dialogue show, Tide Waits For No man.

151118_pat-173.jpg
151118_pat-174.jpg

Mandarin-Chinese was my mother tongue, and soon after English followed.
Growing up in a Taiwanese/Pakeha household, I witnessed the constant frustrations of trying to communicate clearly though English and Chinese translations.

It is hard enough communicating well with a common language. How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?

Recent years have seen me collaborate with many non-english speaking Asian Artists in Japan. There, we would have month-long workshops to create a full-length theatre piece, with our different Artistic skills combined - and no words.

This experience instilled hope in me, that despite cultural and language barriers, if given the space and time, we can all learn to communicate and connect with one another.

151118_pat-169.jpg
151118_pat-170.jpg

Before captions for TV or film existed, I have memories of stop-starting English films and explaining the storyline to my mother. A decade later she is using words I don’t even know existed, but my habit of explaining storylines have remained - much to the annoyance of those who watch films with me.

My mother is the compass I have followed making this show. And though her English is well-beyond now, this is dedicated to all the mothers who are just beginning that journey.


Photos by Ankita Singh

Tide Waits For No Man performs at BATS Dec 4th - 8th.

Book here

Beyond the D-word - The Future of Asian Representation discussed

Diversity is hot - but now what?

“A panel on diversity is like a panel on world peace. It should be seeking a time when we no longer need such panels. It should be a panel actively working towards its own irrelevance. The fact that we’re still having them not only means that we continue to fail, but the false sense of accomplishment in simply having one is deceiving us into thinking that something was tried.” - Marlon James

PAT and Basement attempted to answer the question at Basement Theatre at their regular event Unseen: Unsaid. A future focused discussion prompted by Basement’s 10 year anniversary kicked off talking about Asian representation across the industry - how far we've come and what we can do now to move forward. OG Asians and millennial practitioners just hitting their stride chatted with non-Asian people in positions of casting to find out where the blocks are and how we can remove them together. 

DqWeyA7XcAEb7I2.jpg-large.jpeg

Panelists:

Hweiling Ow

Ahi Karunaharan

Amanda Rees

Ankita Singh

Roseanne Liang

and host, Julie Zhu

Check out some of Julie’s notes and quotes from the evening to kick off your own discussion!

Being confined to the diversity brand

“Why do our published works tend to rehash the same handful of themes and, in particular, the theme of inter-generational conflict set against the backdrop of culture clash? The answer is, in part, connected to the commodification of literature, whereby the writing of an ethnic group becomes a genre (like chick-lit, detective fiction, thriller), and its writers find themselves constrained within the bounds of a brand – a formulaic and ultimately oppressive expectation.” - Kavita Bhanot

- The current trope in many Asian diaspora storytelling is about our relationship to assimilation, to whiteness. Has that become a trope that we are over now? Or do we need to keep rehashing new and alternative interpretations of it?

- It also still centres white people, therefore making them more comfortable or feeling relevant?

Privileged assimilated voices, who gets to speak and be represented?

“To focus only on numbers, to talk only about the need for a greater ‘diversity’ of writers in terms of background, is a limited and misleading approach. The real problem is not simply a monoculture but a mono-ideology, a mono-perspective.” - Kavita Bhanot

Intersectionality.

- Westernised, educated, middle-class voices with believable NZ accents are promoted above others.

- Chinese and East Asian privilege within 'Asian' spaces.

- Assimilation and the model minority, we are always striving to not be like ‘them’, we’re Asian but not Asian Asian, distancing ourselves from our more overtly Other parents perhaps, so that we can more easily and confidently and stealthily fit into mainstream white spaces.

- CRA described as essentially a white story but happens to be played by Asian people and that that is great. Is that the highest goal we want to strive for?

Academia and the elitism of the diversity conversation

Who is left out of the diversity conversation? Who does not even have the language to talk about these issues? E.g. older generations not exposed to this type of discourse, those too busy trying to survive to be able to indulge in learning discourse.

Criticism and the precariousness of criticism

Where is the room for criticism of work in our own communities? If there is so little room for success, for representation, must we be grateful and celebrate every small morsel we are thrown?

Representation and that desire to see ourselves represented, where is the room for systemic change, not seeing the word for the trees

At the moment the conversation around diversity still centres white people as the sun which we all revolve around. Diversity upholds white supremacy, how do we dismantle that? Can we?

- Ghassan Hage talks about diversity being like a multicultural fair where all the stalls of migrant cultures are neatly on display to be consumed by white people, it is there to serve their enrichment. How do we ensure our interactions with other groups who are not our own are not tokenistic? How do we create authentic relationships?

- Why are we still fighting to be part of the mainstream, are we upholding white supremacy by constantly asking to be let into the system and structure that continues to oppress us, what does decolonisation mean to you?

- Systemic change versus individual change. (Individual change looks like one of us getting funding.)



PAT Chats: PINAY Playwright Marianne Infante


”I want people to feel love, to be hurt, uplifted and inspired.”

Marianne Infante is on the edge of the new - the first bilingual Filipino play to be written in New Zealand, and her first full length work. PAT’s challenge to write for Fresh off the Page is part of a new initiative to support Asian writers to create new works and step outside their creative fields.

Marianne, who began as PAT’s producer for Fresh off the Page, is a proud Filipino who moved to Christchurch at age 11, before moving to Auckland in 2014. Marianne gained a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts degree graduating from Unitec in 2016 and has since multiplied her skills in the creative industry. Her theatre experiences include the Auckland Summer Shakespeare 2017's As You Like It, Emotional Creature (The Others Club) and Rumination (Simple Truth Theatre). As a stage manager she worked on BOYS with Auckland Theatre Company and TEMPO Dance Festival in 2017/2018.

43952132_1174751536021335_2713146225456054272_o-2.jpg

PAT sat down with Marianne to talk about her experience before unleashing PINAY on the world.

Catch PINAY October 17th at The Basement Studio, 8.30pm!

What inspired you to write this play?

I don’t think I can pin it to one inspiration. Many things inspired and motivated me to write this play. It’s been brewing for 2 years and then when all the WHY-DO-I-WANT-TO-WRITE-THIS reasons stacked up together, I got to a point this year when I knew I just HAD to get it out of my chest. Those reasons being: personal lessons and conflicts, appreciation for my culture, for my family, my parents hard-work and love, PAT fighting for representation, sheer lack of Filipino voice in all sector of NZ Arts community, and the fact that I knew I had a genuine story I was so passionate to share and communicate.

Marianne-8671.jpg

What were the challenges you faced during the process?

Expressing and forming feelings into words, specifically scenarios that are so close to home. Writing out the pains and mistakes and fully realising those on the pages of my script; I avoided writing the hardest scenes till I just knew I had to, to finish the script. Another challenge for me was trusting myself as a writer. Trusting myself that the truth and story I have to share mattered.

What do you think makes a good story?

A story of truths. A story that explores the ugly and the complex. A story that activates the space and the people within it and engages people to think, question, maybe challenge and wonder.

How do you want people to feel at the end of your play?

I want people to feel love, to be hurt, uplifted and inspired by it. I want people to feel and understand one’s *malasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa’t pamilya*

*Loose translation- selflessness/sacrifice/devotion/concern and love for fellow people and family.

‘Who’ did you write your play for?

I wrote this for any young adult who is having to; re-identify with themselves, dissect their multi-layered culture and re-evaluate the real importance and value of ‘love’ and ‘family’. I wrote this for the person I was last year and the year before.

What character was the easiest to write?

Mama. I have so much gratitude for her complexities and immense capability to love that I really enjoyed exploring her energy and essence.

Can you explain the ‘theatrical’ ideas/concepts utilized in the play that you describe?

I wanted to explore and stretch my story past dialogue and I have delved into movement, sound and music. Featuring my awe for Kapa Haka, Tinikling and love for Filipinos karaoke culture. Movement gives me the freedom to express what words can’t hold and moulds together the 3 different languages the character Alex engages with; English, Tagalog and Te Reo. It’s hard to fully translate from one language to another and to actually keep the essence and actual definition of the word just like the word ‘malasakit’ in the question above.  Regarding the musicality of the piece, for me music and singing is used when the emotions being communicated surpasses the dialogue; speaking no longer suffices.

"Orientation is a hugely significant work: sexy, smart, and not putting up with your shit." - New reviews!

"This play could not have cared less about perfectly crafted impeccable representations. On the contrary, the use of cultural symbols is trivial and bleak, seeking to blow mono-dimensional representations into pieces.” - Hainamana

IMG_6280.jpg

Thanks to Theatrescenes, Hainamana and Appetite for the Arts for their sizzling reviews of Orientation. Check em out below!


Theatrescenes:

http://www.theatrescenes.co.nz/scene-by-james-stars-sex-scares-and-sisters-auckland-does-nz-theatre-month/

Hainamana

http://www.hainamana.com/a-review-of-orientation-by-proudly-asian-theatre/

Appetite for the Arts

https://appetiteforthearts.com/2018/09/12/proudly-asian-theatre-orientation/


Orientation is on for two more nights at Q Theatre. Don’t miss it!

Dead Lucky - Kiwi actor Yoson An talks about his role on a new SBS series and sharing the screen with Rachel Griffiths

"I believe filmmakers and storytellers have the power to either unite or divide humanity, and we need to be aware of that."

Yoson is fast becoming Aotearoa's next big thing.

Calm, collected but fiercely driven, Chinese-Kiwi Yoson An has been acting since 2012 and already has an impressive list of credits to his name. Locally, you might know him from Flat 3,  Mega Time Squad and cult classic Ghost Bride. A skilled martial artist and speaker of Cantonese and Mandarin, Yoson's natural charm on camera has landed him roles on international features Meg, Mortal Engines, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2 and the HBO Asia mini-series Grace.

IMG_3892.jpg

Speaking with him about his career so far, what is most remarkable is that Yoson has consistently broken the tired stereotypes that Asian actors are often cast in, having the chance instead to play leading romantic roles, action heroes and nuanced characters that are far from the nerdy, one dimensional tropes, something he focuses on when writing and directing his own film projects, as well as curating his new media site for short films called 'SkyRise', something the driven actor works on when he's not on set.

Yoson recently landed a leading role, Charlie Fung, in the new SBS crime-thriller series Dead Lucky, acting alongside Rachel Griffiths. After arriving back in Auckland from the shoot in Sydney, Chye-Ling, co-founder of PAT, caught up with Yoson about the experience.

IMG_3872.jpg

Firstly, congratulations on shooting Dead Lucky! Tell us about the series.

DEAD LUCKY is a gripping crime thriller told from multiple perspectives. Detective Grace Gibbs (Rachel Griffiths) is obsessed with catching the armed robber who killed her junior officer. Charlie Fung (Yoson An) her new trainee, blames Grace for the death of his best friend.

Meanwhile a share house of international students think that they have found paradise, until one of their housemates disappears. A couple of greedy convenience store owners resort to deadly measures to defend their business. While on the outskirts of the city, a violent fugitive is hiding.

Over one week, the paths of these characters collide, leaving Grace and Charlie to find the killer, the missing girl ... and a way to rebuild their lives.

What was the casting brief for Charlie Fung - did it specify race?

Yes, they specifically wanted a Chinese male. SBS shows are quite consistently multi-culturally accurate in terms of casting, I believe they accurately represent Australia on screen.

Yoson and the cast of HBO's 'Grace'

Yoson and the cast of HBO's 'Grace'

How did you get the role - what was the audition process like?

It was through a self-tape audition. I sent the tape, they liked what I did and booked me (with no call back - which was extremely lucky and unusual at the same time).

What surprised you about working with Rachel Griffiths and the team on Dead Lucky?

I don’t think I was surprised about anything because I went in with no expectations. I really enjoyed working with Rachel, and the whole team was amazing. Rachel and I got along quite well - I think she’s an awesome person. It was a real honour for me to be co-starring with an academy award nominated actress; being around her and observing her process has taught me so much, and have also inspired me to go deeper into the craft. She was also really generous with providing me with some constructive guidance every now and again on set.

What’s been the most fun shoot day you’ve had so far?

This entire shoot has been a dream come true. The cast was stellar and the crew was amazing. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose the plot too much.. But one of the most memorable days of filming was when Rachel and I did our big confrontational scene (of the show) on the rooftop - it really reflected the depth of Charlie as well as Grace (Rachel’s character).

IMG_3855.jpg

Do you find the Australian screen industry much different to New Zealand, and if so what are the main differences? Do you think there are more opportunities for non-white or Asian representation in Australia compared to New Zealand?

In terms of cultural diversity (accuracy) on screen, I feel like Australia has more opportunities for non-white actors to break into the film industry than we do in New Zealand (since they’re constantly making new shows - creating more content than NZ). In saying that though, I also believe Australia has a lot more actors in general than we do in New Zealand. I was lucky to be involved in a SBS original series; they’re known for having accurate multicultural representation of Australia on screen.

Yoson on set of Dead Lucky - wearing Rory McCann's (The Hound in Game of Thrones) jacket to keep warm

Yoson on set of Dead Lucky - wearing Rory McCann's (The Hound in Game of Thrones) jacket to keep warm

As an actor I’m aware of the amount of auditions you have to go through before you book a role. Previous to this role, what kind of casting briefs were you getting through, and from what countries?

I’ve been quite fortunate with my auditions. There have been a few stereotypical Asian characters, but a lot of my briefs have been from US productions and most of the characters’ personalities have been quite multi-layered.  

What would you like to see more of on New Zealand screens?

More original content and a more truthful representation of multi-cultural casting to reflect the real world (if the story is based in our geographical reality).

IMG_3869 2.jpg

What were the barriers you faced in becoming an actor and a filmmaker?

I’m a big believer/experiencer of “what you put out, is what you get back”. The only barriers I’ve faced were the barriers I’ve imposed on myself. In my experience, this goes for anything and everything in life. Our personal beliefs can either accelerate us or hold us back. There have been many times where I’ve felt anxious on going into an audition or taking on a role (which may be seemingly too big - there’s really no such thing), but I’ve realised it always stems from a lack of self-worth. So I consciously do my best to let go of limiting beliefs that doesn’t serve me.

Charlie Fung is part of the new wave of POC characters breaking away from screen based stereotypes. Do you feel a certain pressure taking on this role?

I’ve certainly felt a pressure to do the best I can for this role - but it was more from the fact that the script itself is so amazing, and the cast members are all so talented, I just really wanted to do the best I can for the series. I was really excited about playing Charlie because he had so many layers to him; it definitely penetrated much deeper than the usual Asian stereotype - that’s also one of the reasons why I absolutely loved about being a part of this show.

Yoson on the set of 'Asian Men Talk About Sex'

Yoson on the set of 'Asian Men Talk About Sex'

What role do you see yourself playing in changing the way that Asian men are perceived on and off the screen?

I don’t have a particular plan as to how I can change the way Asian men are perceived, but I’d like to be of service by being the most truthful version of myself and create from that space. I feel like film and TV is a beautiful medium that can inspire and influence us to gain a deeper perspective of our surroundings. If ideas and cultures are represented falsely on screen - this may influence a false reality into viewer’s mind and create an illusion of separation in our world. I believe filmmakers and storytellers have the power to either unite or divide humanity, and we need to be aware of that.

In Asian Men Talk About Sex (a Loading Docs documentary), you speak candidly about sex from an Asian male perspective. What makes a good date, and have you been on any good ones lately?

A good date to me is when two people are attracted to each other (in whatever way they wish to define attraction), and at the same time, both totally comfortable with each other (where they can just fully be themselves). Unfortunately, I haven’t been on any lately..I’ve been too busy!

Check out Yoson in Asian Men Talk About Sex here

Photos by Jen Huang.