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Fringe Official: SELF-ish Playwright and Assaulted Fish member Kuan Foo joins Vancouver Fringe board of directors

Fringe Board

He’s performed at the Fringe. He’s written a Fringe play. What’s left but to join the Fringe?

On July 25, 2019 Kuan Foo was officially voted in as a member of the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society‘s board of directors. He joins a stellar company of dedicated theatre advisors that include president Sharon Sutherland, vice-president Claudia Sjoberg, treasurer Jai Djwa, secretary Robyn Kurtz, as well as Lesley Carty, Lee-Lyn Gan, Nancy More, Jennifer O’Leary, Jim Sibley and Katia Tynan.

Over the last few years, Vancouver Fringe has made equity, diversity and inclusion a priority at the festival. Their vision is “Theatre for Everyone”, but they recognize that not all voices are heard and not all members of the community are represented on stage at the Fringe. They see the unique role they can play in advancing equitable, diverse, inclusive theatre for all, and have not only committed to this direction but are also encouraging meaningful dialogue and doing active outreach. Visit their EDI page to learn more about their work in this area.

As a former policy lawyer in the area of equity and diversity and in his current professional role as an accessibility advisor for students, Kuan brings a unique lens and wealth of expertise to the Vancouver Fringe. And let’s not forget his cheery disposition and stunning good looks!

Congratulations, Kuan!

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Strangers on a Train Reading – February 19

Hi Fish Fans!

Still fresh and glowy from his success at the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival, Kuan will be one of the featured writers at Strangers on a Train, a literary reading series hosted by the English Department at Langara College.

He’ll be sharing excerpts from his recent Pick of the Fringe play SELF-ish, as well as Blood Makes Noise, which had its debut in Seattle as part of a staged play reading festival.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Hope to see you there!

Where: The Kino Cafe (3456 Cambie St. between W. 18th and 19th Ave.)

When: Tuesday, February 19, 6:00pm to 7:30pm

More infoLangara English Facebook page

SOAT Poster-Kuan-Feb 2019

Kuan’s Photo: Marlene Dong | Poster: Langara Communications & Marketing Department

Capsule Review: Bombay Black

By Marlene Dong in partnership with District Local

Bombay Black

Anosh Irani’s award-winning play is a sensory experience. There’s the light sandalwood aroma that envelopes you when you enter the theatre. The din of Indian street life assails your ears, punctuated occasionally by a voice that invites you to imagine yourself as a blind person in Bombay. There are black blindfolds draped over each seat to help you journey into the world of Bombay Black.

Set in present-day Bombay, the play is the story of Apsara (Arshdeep Purba) who lives with her mother Padma (Nimet Kanji). They eke out a living through Apsara’s erotic dances for wealthy men. One day, a mysterious blind man named Kamal (Munish Sharma) comes calling, raising the spectre of a past that has great repercussions in the present.

On the surface, Apsara and Kamal seem to be the main focus of the play, but really, it’s the relationship between Apsara and Padma that make up the heart of Bombay Black. Their power dynamics are riveting and horrifying, and as performed with ferocity and cutting humour by Kanji, Padma is a force to be reckoned with.

If the play is unflinching in its portrayal of vengeance and betrayal, the language is by contrast lush and beautiful. Kamal doesn’t have sight, but he woos Apsara with words that sing and dance in their imagery. During the play’s magical realism scenes, the lighting and sound designs add the perfect elements of poetry and mystery.

In this time of #metoo, the trauma that the two women are revealed to have suffered doesn’t come as a surprise. As sad as that reality is, you’ll emerge from this play reminded of the strength and resilience of women.

Bombay Black

Written by Anosh Irani

Directed by Rohit Chokhani

Featuring Nimet Kanji, Arshdeep Purba and Munish Sharma

Bombay Black plays at the Firehall Arts Centre December 5-15. For tickets and info, click here.


Please note that this review is the completely subjective opinion of the specific writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the other members of Assaulted Fish.

Fringe Wrap-up or “More Thank You Than You Can Fit in a Tweet”

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SELF-ish’s run at the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival is now officially over and we could not have asked for a better ending than winning a Public Market Pick of the Fringe Award! While we were the ones who got to go up on stage to receive the award, there are many other people who contributed to SELF-ish’s success and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge them.

First, a big thank you to our fabulous SELF-ish team: Dawn Milman, our incredible director, whose vision, guidance and dramaturgical skills were instrumental in making SELF-ish what it is; Ashley Vucko, our intrepid stage manager, who kept the show running every night; Pearl Lam, our resourceful publicist whose social media savvy enabled this group of aging Gen-Xers to connect with a whole other generation of potential fans; Dan Jackson, long-time Assaulted Fish friend and photographer, who designed and photographed the striking image you see on the poster.

Thank you to our friends and family who helped spread the word about the play, in particular fellow Assaulted Fish member Marlene Dong who organized large posses from both her current and previous workplaces to come out and see the show. Also thank you to the other artists we met at the Fringe whose work inspired us and who also took the time to see our show.

Thank you to the fabulous Fringe Festival staff and volunteers who do everything necessary to keep a huge independent theatre festival running smoothly and affordably. The artists get all the glory but it is the staff and volunteers who do the majority of the heavy lifting, whether it is organizing and promoting the festival, liaising with the artists, running the box offices, running tech at the venues, or explaining patiently for the umpteenth time that yes, you do have to buy a membership on top of the tickets in order to see the shows. We who have Fringed salute you!

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who came to see SELF-ish, particularly those who took the time to tweet or Instagram about it afterwards. We love you all (as a group and individually). Without you, SELF-ish would have essentially been Diana shouting into an empty theatre. It has been a fantastic experience for us to be able to show you something a little different than what you have come to expect from Assaulted Fish in the past and we are so glad you came along for the ride!

Kuan and Diana


Holy smokes, the Fringe went by quickly and with a show to promote we didn’t get around to reviewing as many shows as we had hoped. Here’s a few last minute mini-reviews of some things that we saw that are worth checking out if they ever come back:

Poly Queer Love Ballad

This show really does not need us to hype it as it won the Volunteer Choice Award, the Georgia Straight Critics’ Pick Award and a Public Market Pick of the Fringe Award as well as being the previous recipient of the Fringe New Play Prize. But you know what? It really is that good. While the play has a definite agenda (as suggested by the title), the execution is so delightful, the performances so effortlessly charming, that you are simply swept along in the beauty of it. My personal favourite show that I saw this year. If you missed it at the Fringe, it will be playing at the Queer Arts Festival in March 2019 — KF

Ruby Rocket Returns

Portland improvisor Stacey Hallal is hilarious as soft-boiled detective Ruby Rocket in this fun noir parody. Hallal and the rest of the cast (a rotating group of some of the best improvisors in town) take some initial suggestions from the audience to create a different mystery each performance. Tying it all together is Ruby Rocket herself with her boozy Chandler-esque asides and flagrant disregard for gun safety. Hilarious and fun (if not always coherent). — KF

Angels & Aliens

Roommates Jeff Leard and Sydney Hayduk have slept together in fit of inebriation and are now dealing with the awkward aftermath, while passive-aggressively playing an online game involving, you guessed it, angels and aliens. Part social satire and part screwball rom-com, Angels & Aliens is held together by tight and witty performances from Leard and Hayduk who navigate the whiplash transitions between the game and real-life with impressive ease. — KF

Hip.Bang! presents Surveil

Hilarious and unsettling in the best possible way. To tell you too much about this show would be to give away its secrets but it will really make you think about how much of our privacy we have given away in the name of convenience. Those who do not like audience participation be forewarned, the cookies are a trap! — KF