Slowly but surely, SELF-ish is getting closer and closer to Vancouver. If you’re in the BC capital this weekend, check out Diana Bang in her show at UNO Fest, Intrepid Theatre’s 11-day celebration of solo performance (May 9-19). Written by Kuan Foo and directed by Assaulted Fish alum director Dawn Milman, SELF-ish tells the story of Esther Jin, a 30-something Korean-Canadian navigating her relationship with her family in the aftermath of a recent tragedy. Don’t worry: there are laughs to be had too!
Visit the Intrepid Theatre/UNO Fest website for all the ticket details.
Yeah, but when do we get SELF-ish in Vancouver?!
In September, Fish Fans, in September. Look for the play at the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival (September 6-16). Show times will be available later in August. Stay tuned!
About the play:
SELF-ish had its Canadian debut at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. Here are some reviews from opening night:
“Kuan Foo’s script resonates especially for Asian-Canadian audience members. When Esther’s tears finally come, Bang has no trouble digging deep, and…it’s hard not to feel those same emotions.” — Now: Toronto
“Movement is important here, as are expressions, because they help carry the emotional range and complexity of Esther’s story and character. Bang’s performance is dynamic and delivered everything that this part demanded.
The writing too carried its own force in the most understated way. Written by Kuan Foo, SELF-ish gives us Esther’s voice and the voices of those who we don’t even see on stage (her father, mother, brother, and her boss Daryll) through the impact of storytelling.” — Mooney on Theatre
Dear Pork Filled Productions (née Pork Filled Players) AKA “The PFPs”,
Happy 20th Birthday from your Canadian cousins!
Twenty years is long time to be doing anything – not to mention doing it well. For the past two decades, through the vehicle of comedy, the PFPs have been an industrious, energetic and inspirational megaphone for diversity, amplifying stories that need to be told and gleefully staking out a place for the marginalized. And they’re not even old enough to drink yet.
If we had to pick three words to describe the PFPs, they would be “Yummy”, “Funny” and “Generous.” The next three words would probably be “Important” followed by various sloppy, kissing sounds and then finally “Generous” again, because that’s important enough to mention twice. You simply cannot tell the story of the PFPs without talking about their generosity – the generosity of their spirit, the generosity of their talent, and the generosity of their mission.
We first encountered the PFPs at a sketch comedy competition held a long time ago in a faraway land (well, actually 2003 in Vancouver, Canada). We were a bunch of rookie upstarts in khaki pants with the ridiculous name, Assaulted Fish. They were the polished veterans. They sang! They danced! They ate fire! We were immediately struck by two things: number one, “Holy Cow, these Americans are really funny!” and number two, “Wow, they’re super nice people, too!” And also a third fleeting thought, “Who’s this Roger Tang guy who seems to be lurking around in the background all the time? He doesn’t ever seem to be doing anything…”
Ah, what fools we were.
It could have ended there but it didn’t (and this is where the generosity part really starts). Unbeknownst to us, the PFPs were keeping tabs on us; not in an obsessive, creepy way, but enough to know that we had lasted longer than the usual two-year mayfly existence of most sketch comedy troupes. And here’s the thing: they invited us down to Seattle to perform with them. Not once, not twice, but year after year after year. They shared their stage with us. They shared their audience with us. They even shared their living quarters with us, despite the fact that not all of us are regular bathers. But more than anything, they shared their mission with us. Watching the PFPs in action confirmed for us that it was possible to use comedy to tell powerful, inclusive, entertaining stories through our unique perspective as Asian North Americans. We all have stories to share, and they’re valid and worthy and most of all, ours to give voice to.
Over the years, it has been thrilling to watch the PFPs evolve from a sketch comedy troupe to a full-fledged theatre company. Similarly, it has been exciting to see the individual members change and grow in their artistry even if their paths eventually led them away from the main group.
Little did we know on that day so long ago, when we first saw them march across the stage dressed like Dim Sum, that this would lead to a personal and professional friendship that has so far lasted for 15 years. Congratulations PFPs, and thank you for the memories, the opportunities and the comradeship.
Here’s to 20 more years!
With love from
Diana, Marlene, Kuan & Nelson
AKA Assaulted Fish
Congratulations to Assaulted Fish member, Kuan Foo, on the upcoming debut of his latest play, Blood Makes Noise! Kuan is one of seven playwrights featured in Pork Filled Productions‘ staged play reading festival, “Unleashed! New Pulp Stories for the 21st Century“, taking place in Seattle, Washington from October 30 to November 4, 2017.
About Blood Makes Noise:
It’s not quite a zombie apocalypse, more of a zombie annoyance. Across the country, a small number of corpses have mysteriously reanimated and quietly gone into hiding. But what happens when these “After-Lifers” try to step out of the shadows and join the rest of humanity? Is being dead a barrier to getting a life?
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: Theatre Off Jackson, 409 7th Avenue S in Seattle’s International District
Cost: US$6 (plus service/venue fees)
Directed by May Nguyen. Featuring performances by Virginia Marie Gabby, Rachel Guyer-Mafune, J. Edward Lee, Mario Orallo, and Michael Yichao.
Blood Makes Noise is Kuan’s second play to premiere on stage this year (making it 2 for 2 in terms of his new year resolutions.) In July, his first play Self-ish debuted at the Toronto Fringe Festival to solid reviews. Self-ish starred fellow Fish member Diana Bang with Assaulted Fish alum Dawn Milman as director.
Kuan will be in esteemed company at Unleashed: he shares an afternoon double bill with sketch comedy veteran and Pork Filled producer Roger Tang and his play, Dawn of the She-Devil of the China Sea.
About Unleashed and Pork Filled Productions:
Pork Filled Productions celebrates playwrights of color with Unleashed! New Pulp Stories for the 21st Century, a staged reading festival of seven new plays, produced in association with the Theatre Off Jackson, October 30 to November 4, 2017 at the Theatre Off Jackson (409 7th Ave. S. in Seattle’s International District).
From steamy nightclub noir, to sword and sorcery on the high seas, to imaginative science fiction exploring DNA technology and implanted memories, Unleashed helps give a voice to playwrights of color who want to break through the rigid norms and expectations of mainstream theater. With a diverse selection of Korean American, Chinese American, Chinese Canadian, and African American playwrights, Unleashed will showcase the wildly creative and outside-the-box stories that often get overlooked from writers of color.
Spinning off from the long running sketch comedy group the Pork Filled Player, Pork Filled Productions stretches the boundaries of Asian American theatre. Reflecting the imagination and creativity of modern Asian American artists, Pork Filled Products redesigns traditional Asian American theatre to embrace the full spectrum of genres, from steampunk (The Clockwork Professor and The Tumbleweed Zephyr by Maggie Lee), to supernatural comedy (Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love by Prince Gomolvilas), to racial identity farce (Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang), to even Kung-fu zombie Shakespeare (Living Dead in Denmark by Qui Nguyen).
Need a Fish fix this coming week? Check out Nelson and Diana at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Nelson will be appearing in Meditation Park, the latest film from Vancouver director, Mina Shum (Double Happiness), starring Cheng Pei-Pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy). (Showtimes: Sept 28, 30 & Oct 11)
Diana will be in Entanglement, starring Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Jess Weixler (The Good Wife). (Showtimes: Sept 30 & Oct 7)
As an added bonus Diana’s sister, Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) will be appearing in Public Schooled. (Showing Oct 2)