If you were unfortunate enough to miss out on seeing The Search for Xiao Li’s Head in the ACT’s stunning bamboo garden, check out the fabulous photography taken by Justin Foo while the performances were on.
Working on this piece has allowed the ACT to take a journey with this little short story written by Dr. Moni Lai Storz and see it transformed into a thoughtful and beautiful dance piece, led and choreographed by Meah Velik-Lord. To make it even more magical, the dancers performed to a Chinese harp played by Ivan Sun Ngan.
A brilliant collaboration between the ACT, Travel Art Dance Company and Mr. Ivan Sun Ngan.
We are almost there in body, cast and crew. Almost an out of body experience at this stage seeing that everyone is so excited. In fewer than 14 days, we are off to Langkawi where our first performances will be held at the Sugar Restaurant on Pantai Tengah in Langkawi. Sugar sits literally on the beach facing west. Each evening a golden sunset bathes the building in liquid gold. And it is in this very building upstairs framed by a balcony that we will be performing on the 24th & 25th May, 2013 at 8:30pm! How about that folks! Thanks to proprietors Jacky How & Jeremy Liew with loads of help from the fabulous kinky Karina Bahrin of La Pari Pari fame. Anyone visiting Langkawi during these dates are doubly lucky because we are performing for free! Just for the love of it all.
Two years ago, I started the Langkawi Performing Artists on this gorgeous island with our inaugural production “….And the Fight Started.” Now I am bringing an Aussie cast with an intercultural play that laughs at Aussie and Chinese values in a romantic comedy. I am so pleased with myself to say the least. As author and producer and equally importantly, as an ex Malaysian, I have come home having called Australia home for over 30 years! Ha! Wonders may never cease on the return journey. Who knows? Finally fame and fortune. Or perhaps just lots of laughs and nasi lemak!
In May of this year, we are going on tour to Malaysia, performing in the lovely island of Langkawi, Penang and of course, Kuala Lumpur. It is a real treat to be able to perform with the local Malaysian actors in their hometowns. A real intercultural experience for all of us.
In Langkawi opening night is 24th May 2013. Only 2 evening performances at Sugar/Fat Cupid Restaurant at Pantai Tengah 8:30pm. In Penang, in combo with Penang PAC at their palatial premisses in Straits Qauy, Floor 3A. Opening night 31 May. 2 evening performances only & 1 Sunday matinee at 3pm. And finally in Kuala Lumpur, in Sentul West at the luxurious klpac complex. All performances are at 8:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday matinees at 3pm.
For more information visit our Malaysia Tour page for ticket and venue details.
As part of the cultural diversity week celebration Our Man in Beijing will be staged at the ACT Studio, 11 Cole ST, Brighton, on Saturday 16 March 2013 at 8pm. All are welcome. Contact Moni on 0419367261 or [email protected] for tickets and details.
Written by Moni Storz, starring Ashley Macklin, Sharon Karina, Lee Ton, Jo Armstrong, Matt Friend & Phil Trainer, light & sound by Richard Lyford-Pike, stage design by Julia De Rosario and flyer design by Jacy Teh. Our Man in Beijing is directed by Wolf Heidecker.
A romantic comedy of intercultural mistakes. Will John Williams get his Chinese cover girl when what he knows about Chinese culture is one dim sum.
A very satisfying effort indeed. The cross-cultural counsellor, the ACT’s first ChinDian performance raised a $1000 over three little shows for Prasad Australia. The skit can be the beginning of a fully developed play and let us hope that the writer Graham Pitts will now be encouraged to do it. The ACT’s mission is to promote intercultural theatre and a ChinDian sketch that is a fusion of Chinese and Indian staged in Australia, featuring an Indian Australian actress, Chinese actor as her stage husband, written by white Aussie Graham Pitts and directed by German Australian Wolf Heidecker and me as producer, an Australian Malaysian Chinese!! Talking about multicultural fusion eh? I love it! Thank you to all our supporters, fans and friends who came to the show.
When a word is so overused that it can have so many meanings, eventually it becomes meaningless. Take the word Multiculturalism. Or “Asian” as used in Australia. The word “multiculturalism” is bandied around in Australia very carelessly especially by politicians when they are trying to be politically correct. If we are not careful we can end up using the term like these unthinking politicians and be guilty of excluding our black Australians/Aboriginal or indigenous Australians! When we say multiculturalism, unconsciously we do not think Aboriginal Australians. Not that I am advocating that we include Aboriginal in the term Multiculturalism seeing that the label is so meaningless.
Multicultural performances simply mean a whole lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds or countries (and therefore international) coming together and doing an event, as in the show Opera 1938 at the Melbourne Fringe (2012). Brilliant multicultural performance with Anglo-celtic, Italian, Aboriginal and Chinese languages and “historical” snippets from colonial Australia. Wonderful multicultural performance. There are many multicultural performances and events all over Australasia but we are short of an intercultural theatre in the southern hemisphere. The ACT is possibly the first in the world focusing on Australasians and Chinese. (I am still grappling with the term Australasian Chinese or Chinese Australasian! In the USA, they use “Chinese American” which I think is truer to the reality the Americans wish to describe! I.e. they are all American citizens and Chinese in the label describes the ethnicity of the person’s citizenship. But over here in Australasia, we simply use “multicultural”. See what I mean?). The ACT is intercultual notably because it is going to put on performances which are intrinsically “intercultural” in that two cultures or three or even four drawn from Australia and New Zealand. This is a challenge. For anybody. But not insurmountable.
Two plays Happy Ending by Melissa Reeves and my own Our Man in Beijing specifically reveal the cultural elements of both white Anglo Australians and Chinese people. The values intrinsic in both values are revealed if one knows both cultures for example, the Anglo value of egalitarianism and the Chinese value of hierachicalism ( no such word exists in the English language but it is the opposite of egalitarianism and I also believe that heirarchicalism is a value that describes more than half the world’s culture hence it is important that this word is used.)
That is why an intercultural theatre is necessary. An intercultural theatre specifically focuses on two ethnic peoples or cultures, for example, Australian and Chinese cultures. We blend whatever is Australian with whatever is Chinese. This is where the challenges emerge (as pointed out in my earlier paragraph). What is Australian culture? Does it include Anglo-celtic and Aboriginal ? What about the Australians from European and other Asian ethnic backgrounds? And what about the term Chinese? What is Chinese culture and even more challenging: Who are the Chinese? Every question merits a PHd thesis. Yes, these questions are academic but if language constructs realities and it does, shouldn’t we be educating the masses to use the appropriate words to refer to realities. The realities are that underlying the language we use exist feelings of prejudice and racism: twin evils in the world that have killed millions in terms of “ethnic cleansing” and history has shown us again and again that people have gone to war to do horrible things simply by naming and labelling. People are still doing that!
I name my theatre company an intercultural theatre and rightly so for it is narrowly and deliberately focused on Australian and Chinese cultures. It is an intercultural theatre in Australasia (that is, Australia and New Zealand) for it seeks to create opportunities for Australasian Chinese or Chinese Australasians. And now if we unwrap the term Australasian, it includes Anglo-Celtic/Gaelic, European Aussies & Kiwis, Aboriginal and Maori Aussies & Kiwis, and Chinese. This is an unique combo! No theatre company in the world has this combination of ethnicities and seek to create opportunities for these peoples. Come on Aussies, Kiwis and Chinese of all shapes, sizes and colours, let us get cracking and write plays and films that will blend our cultural elements, truly intercultural theatre!