I am extending my invitation (beyond Australia) to American story tellers to join us in sharing your stories that are intercultural, that is, Chinese American. You may wonder why am I inviting our American friends to share your stories.
While doing research in intercultural or cross cultural theatre with a focus on Chinese theatre making, most of my search has taken me to the USA. David Hwang’s M.Butterfly leads me to his intercultural Chinese American comedy Chinglish. As a result, I am a fan of his now.
I also realise that in Australia, Chinese Australian story tellers are very few. We are a very small population compared to the number of Chinese Americans. Those who are famous in telling intercultural stories about Chinese and Australians are even fewer compared to the American ones. Names like Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan and David Hwang, the playwright, are 3 great story tellers that come readily to mind in the USA.
Here is how you do it:
1.Send me a snippet, a tale, an anecdote or a short, short, very short story for my Chinese Theatre that is intercultural and in need of stories and plays to perform. It is just a snippet, a snap, a tale, a “story” to tell at a party or round a camp fire. So it does not have to be a well crafted written short story. As yet.
2.Length: not exceeding 500 words
3.It must be in English.
4.It must be intercultural – Chinese & American
Intercultural is defined as including some Chinese aspect or issue or person in your tale.
As a young Chinese student in Australia, I was invited to a party. My Australian friend Barbara told me to “bring a plate.” I brought an EMPTY plate. (In Aust, “bring a plate” means “bring some food”. Being Chinese, it was (and still is) unheard of to ask a guest to bring their own food.
In this snippet or anecdote, the Chinese is me, the person. But it could be an issue, an incident or even a made up tale.
WHAT DO YOU GET IN RETURN
And in return I will give you a gift. To show my appreciation for your time and effort, I will give you my ebook (The Young Poetess & Other Short Chinese Stories) in www.smashwords.com for free. If you don’t want this lovely gift, then invite me to your blog and I will make a comment and/or like your facebook page. Fair enough as we Australians would say!
“I had my childhood friend over to my place for dinner when I was 12 years old. My dear Mum kept on pouring food on her plate while all my family were in normal loud conversation. Afterwards she innocently asked me if “were you having a fight?” No, I said “that is how we normally talk!”
When I took my German Australian husband to Hong Kong for the first time, he went for a walk by himself while I had breakfast in bed. He came back and asked me why were there so many people quarrelling in the streets. I told him that’s how Cantonese is spoken. Loudly and with strong emphasis.
As performing artists and any other artists for that matter, we seem to get punished for doing the ‘job’ we love. How is that so? Well, we seem to be poor for a start. Poor only because we spend the best years of our lives creating our masterpieces. So as time is money, we miss the opportunities to make money in well paid jobs! Especially in the peak periods between 20 and 30 years old.
No one wants to pay us for entertaining them, singing them songs of joy, amusing them with our stand up comic acts, and so on. Yet some airhead, spinhead, thick head, bald head….all these heads of some organisation, state, country or other seem to get huge salaries…question is WHY? I am good at asking questions but to provide answers? who knows and who cares? I am an action woman. I am kineastheic. I learn by doing. That is what the big word means. In short, I dance. I dream too. I dance my dreams. I don’t care about verbal answers. I ACT. I find solutions for our common good, our common love of performing, which brings me to money for touring Asia. ACT goes to ASIA in 2013. We Chinese are not superstitious about the number 13.
I am dancing my dreams right now on this page. Being very action oriented (or kineasthetic) I am dreaming of taking the cast and crew to tour Malaysia. Dreams need to be translated into action plans (didn’t I say that I am action oriented?). Top of the action plan page is this word: FUN(D) RAISING.
I love the role of producer which I occupy for OMIB – why? this time I have an answer: I love money. I love making money. I love the challenge of seeing $88 turn into $880. Not much you may sneer! For ten cents more, at 0.99 cents you can buy my ebook. So turning $88 into $880 in 2 hours is a lot of money for artists. Time and money go hand in hand. But the profit margin is what we are interested in. I am not good at arithmetic. You work out the profit margin profit.
So being a producer is about raising money for my cast and crew to go on tour…no, not for holiday. Travelling to work. Yes, performing artists work. The key word is performing, as in performing assets if we are using business lingo. Artists we are but we are also workers. Working to give humanity joy, laughter and longevity. Some scientists worked out that laughter prolongs your lives, make you healthier, and definitely, unequivocally, absolutely, blissfully, magnificently, acceleratively enhances your sex life.
Come join in the ACT in our fun(d) raising trip. See you there at our next ACT!
Last night was our last show at La Mama and needless to say it was the best ever. A full house, actors well versed in every line, every gesture and in sync with each other. The crew was smooth, slid in and out of the stage changing props. As author I am amazed anew, like a child with a new toy every night. To blend what I see as Chinese culture with Australian culture, a fusion that is entertaining and theatrical is a sociologically creative challenge. Especially since many have debated these two questions: what is Chinese culture and what is Australian culture? Both questions are defiantly indefinable. In Our Man in Beijing, as an intercultural play, Chinese and white Anglo cultural elements are revealed. But what of Aboriginal Australians? Are they not Australians?
This song is probably the most famous of all tunes in Asia. It is like a national anthem that bonds Chinese everywhere. It is the signature tune of the Chinese diaspora. In Our Man in Beijing, Diana Nguyen sang it with a Vietnamese accent accompanied by Phil Trainer. There was not one Chinese person in the audience who didn’t know the song. Phil has put his own lyrics in English to the tune of Yue Liang. The most famous singer is Teresa Teng who sang Yue Liang Dai Bao Wo De Xin in China long before the country allowed a foreign person to do that. The Moon Represents My Heart, the song’s English title was composed anonymously. The first line of the chorus: you ask me how deeply I love you? (ni wen wo ai ni yu dao shin) From this profound question to the very last line, the song retains its magical and mystical quality. Yue liang ai ren, translates into moon light lover has the meaning of an eternal lover. So the song title The Moon Represents my Heart has several profound layers of meaning. It resonates with those who are moon lovers, enduring and eternal.
An awesome sell out…cast and crew were superb front and behind curtains. The rehearsals were hilarious as the new leading lady Diana Nyugen is a comdian, famous for her Phi and Me act in Melbourne. Peter Muir who was the leading man in last year’s production had to be flown in from sunny Queensland, straight from airport to La Mama. The bloops and bleeps at rehearsals seemed to disappear when the play opened. The magical mystery of real performances! what a cast and what a crew. I am not sure which i enjoyed more: the rehearsals or the actual performances. As the author of the play, I have an OBE everytime the curtain goes up and I listen to my own lines as if from another sphere. (OBE as in Out of Body Experience, not the Order of Australia).