Asian Invasion: Plays from the Other Side of Aotearoa (2014)

A co-presentation with Ensemble Impact, this was a work that featured four young professional Asian actors - Benjamin Teh, Chye-Ling Huang, Mayen Mehta and Nikita Tu-Bryant. Directed by Kerryn Palmer, it wove together a collection of dynamic excerpts from ten contemporary New Zealand plays highlighted the relations between Asian, Māori, Pasifika and Pakeha New Zealanders.

Works included were those that approached the subject of being Asian in Aotearoa, including:

Robot vs Ninja – by Benjamin Teh 

The nature of love and illusions is approached in an original and entertaining manner in Robot vs Ninja. Who do we love? And why? What do we expect from each other? Meet Audrey the Robot and her boyfriend, the Ninja.

Fire Mountain (Foh Sarn) – by Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Set in contemporary Auckland the play focusses on the life of a young Korean university student and explores the uneasy relationship between the Asian community and New Zealand society through the eyes of a TV film crew eager to dig up dirt on Asian crime.

Chopstick #1 – by Jo Holsted & Michelle Ang

A play for anyone who can use chopsticks. We took one actor and turned her into a Samoan teenager, a fifth-generation greengrocer, a Chinese grandmother, and a white guy. It's an exploration into being Asian. Into being a New Zealander. A woman. A man. An Asian-New-Zealander-Man-Woman. And anyone in between. With no stereotypes. Just kidding, there are heaps. But we really, really thought about it.

FAAB – by Renee Laing

It’s not a play about rugby, but more a play that ‘contains’ rubgy. It’s about two boys growing up and their friendship. One’s a new immigrant who’s still deciding where his loyalties lie – the other, also from an immigrant family, who’s keen to show off this true colours (if only he can work them out).

Two Fish ’n’ A Scoop – by Carl Nixon

Jason comes to work in the fish and chip shop owned by Mr Chan. Ignoring his wishes, Mr Chan’s feisty daughter Rhea and Jason begin a romance, as they both serve up the greasies. It doesn’t take long, however, before some disquieting home truths are revealed.

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Yellow Brides – by Vincent O’Sullivan

A contemporary New Zealand tragedy with its eye on our relationship to Asia and big business, Yellow Brides is a welcome return to the stage for this outstanding and versatile writer whose previous plays include Shuriken, Billy and Casement. Yellow Brides is a powerful work giving the Medea story a contemporary setting.

Businessman Jason's Asian bride Queenie has much from her own culture to offer relatives and friends in her new home of New Zealand. What have they got in return to offer Queenie?

Taro King – by Vela Manusaute

Taro King is set in a local supermarket in South Auckland, prized as being the supermarket with the highest turnover in taro sales.In 2002, the Fijian coup, led by George Speight, and the ban on all trading between Fiji and New Zealand had a major effect on the flow of taro coming into the port of Auckland. To the locals of Otara this sudden shortage of taro was harsh; however none felt the severity of the situation more so than the employees at Taro King supermarket, whose livelihood was unexpectedly put at risk.

Chopstick #2 – by Jo Holsted & Michelle Ang

Neang Neak’s Legacy – by Sarita Keo Kossamak So

Having escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime in their homeland Cambodia, husband Veasna and wife Chantrea, find themselves in Wellington. A decade after their arrival, they are confronted by the ghosts of their past. A story of redemption, NEANG NEAK’S LEGACY asks how do you bury your ghosts?

The Exchange – by Lauren Jackson

It is the year 1994. Five NZ teenagers are on an exchange year in Germany, a nation in the throes of reunification. Exchange is a funny, moving kiwi quest for personal discovery. The exchange students transform from child to adult as they navigate a new culture and discover what it means to be a New Zealander.

Krishnan's Diary – by Jacob Rajan & Justin Lewis

Gobi and Zina Krishnan have come to New Zealand in search of a better life for themselves and their child. They work hard and keep their dreams stacked on the shelves of their struggling business. Two New Zealand cliches about Indians - the Taj Mahal and the corner dairy - are fused into an enchanting love story.

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