It’s one of our favourite things to do each year in September: giving folks a preview of the theatre buffet happening at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. District Local is once again hosting our preview picks, so jump on over to their website to read the full article.
Alright, let’s get Fringing!
Image: Christache Ross/Vancouver Fringe Festival
Fringe Official: SELF-ish Playwright and Assaulted Fish member Kuan Foo joins Vancouver Fringe board of directors
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 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).
Regular followers of our site will know that we are huge fans of Seattle playwright Maggie Lee. Her latest series of plays, including “The Clockwork Professor” and “The Tumbleweed Zephyr,” take place in the steampunk world of New Providence. Last week, we caught her latest, “A Hand of Talons,” and we are happy to report, it is her best one yet.
Although third in the series, “Talons” actually takes place years before the two previous instalments and tells the origin story of a character, Wilhemina Yao, who was alluded to but never actually seen in “The Tumbleweed Zephyr.” Unlike the previous plays, which were rollicking capers involving dimensional hopping and train robbery respectively, “Talons” is a smaller-scale character study that takes place entirely in one room (granted, a room with multiple entrances, both secret and not so secret). This is easily the most focussed and tonally dark of any of the New Providence plays with several characters meeting horrible fates (some of which may include death) but there is still plenty of humour and fun. The cast is uniformly strong top to bottom, but special mention must be given to Stephanie Kim-Bryan as Wilhemina who navigates the most complicated character arc of the series so far with great aplomb and to Jen Ruzumna who provides most of the comic relief as the cynical Bernadette. The direction is tight and the set and costumes instantly conjure up the alternate reality of New Providence, part-western, part-Victorian, yet strangely familiar.
“A Hand of Talons” runs for one more weekend at the Theatre Off Jackson in Seattle’s International District. For showtimes and tickets click here.
First, congratulations to Assaulted Fish’s own Marlene Dong, who just joined the board of one of Vancouver’s best up-and-coming theatre troupes, Delinquent Theatre.
Second, here’s a shameless plug for Delinquent Theatre’s latest production in the upcoming rEvolver Theatre Festival.
Created by Molly MacKinnon and Christine Quintana
Featuring Nadeem Phillip
Directed by Laura McLean
Choreographed by Kayla Dunbar
Design by Jenn Stewart, Jill White, and Laura Fukumoto
Stage Management by Danielle Bourgon
Produced by Delinquent Theatre (Vancouver, British Columbia) in association with Electric Company Theatre.
From the company that created the Jessie-Award winning Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical…
Berlin 1919: Violin prodigy and composer Sophie Carmen Friedman meets expressionist painter and war veteran Walter Gramatté. She is passionate, rude, and gifted; He is witty, emotional and compassionate. Their love affair spans 10 years, 4 cities, artistic successes and failures, and tragedy. Nearly 100 years later, the most essential record of their time together lives in her 10 violin compositions. Never The Last fuses classical music performance, movement and text to tell the story of two people in love and the space between them. How do you say what is impossible to say? And what if you run out of time?
The Cultch, 1895 Venables St, Vancouver
Venue: The Historic Theatre
Wed May 11: 9.15pm
Fri May 13: 9.15pm
Sat May 14: 3.15pm – TALKBACK
Sat May 14: 7pm
Sun May 15: 8.30pm
It’s Vancouver Fringe Festival season again and even though Assaulted Fish is not in the Fringe this year, we’ll be at the Fringe, laughing, crying and pondering our existence along with hundreds of other theatre-goers. We’ll be posting some our reviews of some of the more entertaining shows as we go so keep watching this space!
Thanks again to the Asian Canadian & Asian Migration Studies (ACAM) program at UBC for inviting us to participate in “Asians on Stage/Asians on Screen” a panel discussion about Asian representation in mainstream pop culture and the fine art of balancing the demands of the entertainment industry and being true to yourself and your values. Lots of great discussion and perceptive questions from the audience. And look what cool t-shirts they have!
“Am I blocking the logo?” – Diana
Come see the oldest and shortest members of Assaulted Fish, as Kuan and Diana perform a sketch or two as part of SIDEKICKS, a night of duo sketch comedy, January 29 at the China Cloud! Argue amongst yourselves as to which one of them is the sidekick! (Hint: it’s probably the taller one, like Chewbacca).
Wishing a happy and safe holidays to all of our friends, families and fans, old and new! See you all in 2015 with lots more stuff for you to laugh at. In the meantime, to tide you over, here’s an interview (ha ha) with Diana.
In life and on YouTube, cats give us so much to laugh about. It’s time we gave back to the cats and kitties!
On June 25, come and support The Cat’s Ass Comedy Show. It’s a night of comedy hosted by the inimitable Morgan Brayton, and featuring some of Vancouver’s funniest performers in support of Vancouver’s most in-need cats and kittens. There’s going to be everything from stand-up to sketch comedy to burlesque. Awesome, right?
Assaulted Fish will be performing four of their favourite sketches. It’s also going to be our first performance as a six-person troupe. Momentous, right?
Date: Wednesday, June 25
Time: Doors at 7:00pm | Show at 8:00pm (for realz)
Place: WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac Street (at Victoria Drive, or 2 blocks north of The Cultch)
Parking: Free street parking available, but please note residential parking restrictions. Metered parking on Commercial Drive. Transit and carpooling recommended.
Accessibility: Please visit the Info links below for full details.
Note: No minors. Cash bar.
Info: http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Morgan-Save-Kittens or search “The Cat’s Ass Comedy Show” on Facebook
1. $20 at the door
2. By making a contribution at the $50 level (perk = 2 tix) to http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Morgan-Save-Kittens
3. In advance (service charges apply) at http://catsass.brownpapertickets.com/
VOKRA is a no-kill registered charity dedicated to the rescue of homeless or abandoned cats and kittens in the Lower Mainland. We are 100% volunteer run and help over 1800 cats per year. We do not have a shelter; instead we have a network of 250 foster homes where the tame cats and kittens are housed while waiting for their forever home. Feral cats are returned to their home after spaying or neutering. If it’s not safe to return feral cats to their colony location, we find them new jobs as “rodent control technicians” at local farms. Please take a look at VOKRA – Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association or www.vokra.ca for more information on our organization and its programs.
Hope to see you at the fundraiser! Stay tuned for more details about our upcoming show at the Powell Street Festival on August 2.
Are you wondering who the massively happy person is in the bottom left corner of our sidebar photo? That’s Lissa Neptuno and she’s the newest member of Assaulted Fish! We’ve gotten to know Lissa over the last few months and we think she’s a terrific addition to the troupe. In March, she performed with us at Langara’s Philosophers’ Jam and we can’t wait for you to see her in action. Here she is in third person:
“Lissa was born in Brunei and raised in Northern BC, and now resides in the Lower Mainland. She can be seen in some Vancouver-shot TV shows, such as Supernatural, The Haunting Hour, and Psych. She has trained at Vancouver Film School and at Studio 58. Her favourite theatre credits include Frost/Nixon, San Diego, and Nanay: A Testimonial Play. Catch her again soon in the Victoria-based television pilot, Gracepoint. Lissa is excited to be joining Assaulted Fish, and wonders why it works so well to speak in third person when writing a bio, which needs more padding without the horn-tooting.”
Welcome to the school, Ms. Neptuno! Thanks for making us 6.0.
(Stay tuned for more details about our upcoming show.)
By Marlene Dong
It’s an embarrassment of riches this weekend. Beginning January 23 to January 25, the Vancouver Sketch Comedy Festival takes over Granville Island. There are 27 sketch comedy troupes from all over vying for your funny bone. We know it can be hard to pick which shows to attend (there are concurrent shows running at two venues), so we’re shamelessly going to recommend checking out some of the performers we’ve been lucky to perform with over the years.
We also wrote about some of these groups during our 10-year retrospective in September 2013. Check out “To All the Troupes We’ve Loved Before“.
Thursday, January 23 @ 7:30pm | Cabaret Stage
Morgan’s our hero and mentor. She took a chance on Assaulted Fish nearly 10 years ago, inviting us to perform at the 2005 Vancouver SketchFest. She’s an amazing writer and performer. You’ll laugh hysterically.
Thursday, January 23 @ 9:30pm | Cabaret Stage
We’re excited to see this trio of Jackie Blackmore, Peter New and Dylan Rhymer back in action.
Friday, January 24 @ 7:30pm | Cabaret Stage
We’re performing with them on Friday! Clever writing, sharp performances, funny as hell, and svelte to boot. What’s not to love?
Saturday, January 25 @ 7:30pm | Burrard Stage
We caught Charles in Seattle when they were invited to open for the Pork Filled Players. They’re the only troupe we have seen that actually has an entire sketch about the correct translation of a passage in Beowulf, which brought a warm glow to this English Major’s dark heart.
Peter ‘n’ Chris
Saturday, January 25 @ 9:30pm | Burrard Stage
This duo always rocks the Vancouver Fringe Festival. We cry-laugh every time we see them. It makes for a messy affair, but just bring a hanky and you’ll be fine. They’re like cartoon characters come to life.
Remember, we’re performing on Friday, January 24 at 7:30pm (it’s Chris’ debut as an official member of Assaulted Fish.) Hope to see you there or at one of the other shows!
We’re kicking off the new year with a very special announcement: Assaulted Fish is now a five member troupe!
We’re thrilled to welcome Chris Lam to the fold. If you caught one of our Vancouver Fringe Festival shows last September, you’ll remember Chris as the guy who was not Nelson. He made an indelible impression on audiences, as evidenced by this screen grab:
We asked Chris to share his thoughts on joining Assaulted Fish and he sent us the following incoherent ramble:
“Intellectual and absurdist frolicking, the work of the Assaulted Fish is more in line with, I think, Beckett and Stoppard than conventional sketch comedy. They tickle me with the variety in their sketches–some laced with biting satire, others with dead-pan directness, and others which are just downright silly mucking about. They make allusions to Murakami, challenge the sketch comedy form, and aren’t self-conscious as “Asian” performers. Yes, Assaulted Fish is comprised of Asian performers, but they are embracing and sincere in their presentations of social, political, and emotional mosaics of Asian and Canadian identity. I’m excited to be a part of their voice.”
Flattery will get you everywhere. Welcome to the troupe, Chris!
Chris is joining us for our first show of 2014. Assaulted Fish is performing at the rebooted Vancouver Sketch Comedy Festival. Our 20-minute set will feature sketches from our recent Fringe show. If you missed us in September or just want to see us again, join us on Granville Island next weekend!
Here are the details:
Assaulted Fish w/ The Skinny and Strapless Comedy
Date: Friday, January 24
Place: Cabaret Stage, 1398 Cartwright Street, Granville Island (Studio 1398)
Cost: $15 plus service charge
Tickets: Online sales only through Eventbrite
Seating: General admission
Parking: Restricted free parking to 7pm; unrestricted thereafter. Arrive early to give yourself time to park and queue up.
Note: This show is not suitable for kids. No latecomers please.
(Check back next week for a little feature on our fellow sketch comedians performing at the festival. See you soon!)
As part of Assaulted Fish’s 10-year anniversary, we asked some of our closest friends, fans and families for their memories of the past decade. Today we present our conversation with Ken Tsui.
Here is a music video that he directed for Uncle Skeleton:
We have been proud to collaborate with Ken several times over the years, most notably on our short film Dandy Lions.
For more information about Ken and his role in reviving the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market go here.
What do you think makes Assaulted Fish unique?
I first saw the Fish at a time in my life when I was looking at Asian Canadian culture with a more conscious and critical eye. There weren’t many Asian comedy troupes around town back then and I thought they were as hilarious as they were inspiring. They were proof to a young impressionable kid like me that Asian Canadians could run with the funniest of them. They were the OGs* of the Vancouver scene.
You’ve produced a number of digital shorts for Assaulted Fish – how does their comedy translate from the stage to film?
Their sketches have such theatricality to them that you can’t help but get ideas for a film. Their sketches also borrow and reference from film too. Fortunately, they have good taste in movies.
What makes Assaulted Fish fearless in their approach to sketches and comedy?
When you’re billed as an Asian comedy group, ethnicity is going to be part of the joke. It doesn’t always have to be but it’s going to come up. I think the Fish have always represented Asian identity without tapping into Asiatic tropes and clichés. At their most effective, they’ve used comedy to address the Asian Canadian experience.
On the occasion of their 10th anniversary, what celebratory message would you like to share with the group?
I think it’s time to let Nelson Wong go, guys. Just kidding. Congratulations!
(Interview by Linda Ong – Photo by Kuan Foo)
*Editor’s note: to people not in Ken’s demographic, this apparently means “Original Gangsters”, which according to the Urban Dictionary means “ones who have been around, old school gangsters”. Yes, I had to look it up.
Hey, check out our interview in Schema Magazine! (We name-dropped a little bit.)
Special thanks to Robert Parungao for this time and work, and to Dan Jackson for the awesome photography.
Directed by Laura McLean, the Fishes’ new show explores existential angst and giant atomic terror beasts. For the watermelon-loving fans of the Queen of Vancouver/Burnaby, she’s baaaack with further tips on how to be sexy on a budget. And in honour of ReAct’s remount of Yellow Face, we present a fresh take on David Henry Hwang’s seminal 1980 play, F.O.B.
Yo, check it.
Date: Friday, July 13 & Saturday, July 14
Place: Ballard Underground (2220 Market Ave. NW, Seattle)
Cost: $11 general; $9 students/seniors (plus service charges if purchasing online)
Vancouver show alert!
For those of you who can’t make the trek south, join us at the Powell Street Festival! We’ll be making our ninth appearance with a free, 30-minute show at this awesome annual community celebration. More details to come as soon as they’re available!
“If you need a place to fill your cultural space, you can always call…Joe Wai.”
And so began our musical tribute to the venerable architect, designer and community advocate, Joe Wai. Our heartfelt thanks to the Chinese Canadian Historical Society for inviting us to perform last night. As always, it’s a pleasure and privilege. Special thanks to Joe Wai for being an incredible inspiration, Hayne Wai for providing some sketchy source material, MC extraordinaire Bob Sung (you can open for us anytime!), and of course Mz Petula Clark. We’re still marvelling at the kismet-ness of it all!
Until we meet again over sticky rice-stuffed fried chicken!
First up is our annual performance for the Chinese Canadian Historical Society’s AGM on Saturday, March 3. This year, the society is honouring Joe Wai, the architect behind the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden and Chinatown Millennium Gate, and long-time advocate for senior and social housing and Chinatown community issues. If you’re interested in becoming a CCHS member or attending the AGM dinner, visit the CCHS-BC website for all the details.
The following week will see the Fishies performing at a special conference hosted by CUPE Metro Vancouver District Council. It’s our third time entertaining members of this always appreciative group and we can’t wait to debut some new sketches for the occasion.
Stay tuned for more info about upcoming shows (ours and others). In the meantime, check out our latest video, “Crosswalk.” How many of you have had trouble saying goodbye?
The Fishies are on a mini-hiatus until the New Year, but on Sunday, three of us caught the matinee performance of Falling in Time, C.E Gatchalian’s new play starring fellow Fishie Nelson Wong. The play is a powerful portrayal of the hidden traumas of the “forgotten war.” Top-notch performances from the entire cast and in case you think we’re just a little bit biased, The Vancouver Sun‘s Peter Birnie calls Nelson “a gifted Chinese-Canadian actor whose strengths are so considerable that they give Falling in Time its true heart.” Catch Falling in Time before it’s too late!
Warning: Nudity, sexuality and mature themes. Minimum age: 16 years.
FALLING IN TIME
The world premiere of a new play by C.E. Gatchalian, featuring Allan Morgan, Manami Hara, Kevin Kraussler and Nelson Wong
Epic in its scope, raw in its emotionalism and bold in its theatricality, Falling in Time is set in Vancouver in 1994 and 1950s Korea, and tells the story of four individuals, across two continents and over a span of more than forty years. The lives of these characters miraculously intertwine in Vancouver playwright C.E. Gatchalian’s uncompromising meditation on war, masculinity, sexuality, personal boundaries, and love. Falling in Time asks the question, how do we let go?
Only 5 More Performances!
Date: Tuesday-Saturday, November 8-12
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: Performance Works, Granville Island
Cost: $20 each. Purchase tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets or by email.
Directed by Seán Cummings
Set & Lighting Design by Itai Erdal
Sound Design: Michael Rinaldi
Costume Design: Christopher David Gauthier
Stage Management: Jethelo Cabilete
Production Management: Dani Fecko and Kenji Maeda
Technical Director: Tim Furness
Set and Lighting Assistant: Mandi Lau
Media Relations: Kimberly Plumley
Production Researcher/Cultural Consultant: Jenny Ye Kyung Sung
Congratulations Nellie on a tour de force performance!
Thanks to everyone for coming out to our Powell Street Festival show on July 31. You were an amazing audience! We hope to entertain you again in the very near future. Btw, anyone interested in a slightly bruised watermelon?
Special thanks to the wonderful Powell Street Festival organizers/volunteers, especially Julie Aoki and Kazuho Yamamoto; Jamie Burns and the Firehall Arts Centre; Ann Chow; Andrea Bang; and Laura McLean.
Please check back for upcoming show details, as well as new videos and blog posts. In the meantime, check out these two great shows from our talented friends.
PARTY THIS WEEKEND
Directed by Laura McLean (she’s our awesome director!)
Date: Every Friday and Saturday, July 15 to August 27
Place: Jen’s Place, 518 Kaslo Street, Vancouver
Cost: Single show tickets – $15 / Four-show passes – $40
About the Show:
One party. Four perspectives. Do you know the whole story? Experience a house party you will never forget, through the eyes of four pivotal party guests. Mingle, eat and drink, following one of these characters through the house each night. Come for one show or all four to get the whole story.
Party This Weekend is an original, interactive theatre experience presented by The House Party Collective, in association with Scarlet Satin Productions.
Date: August 5 to September 3
Time: Fridays at 8pm / Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm
Place: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, Capital Hill, Seattle, WA
Cost: At door – $15 / In advance – $12
Advance Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/181433
Info: http://www.porkfilled.com and http://www.reacttheatre.org
About the Show:
ReAct Theatre and the Pork Filled Players (with sponsorship by the Furuta Lee Foundation) proudly present the Northwest premiere of Yellow Face, the Pulitzer-finalist and Obie-award winning comic “mockumentary” about mistaken racial identity by David Henry Hwang. Casting himself as the protagonist, Hwang recounts his (maybe true, maybe not) hard-hitting attempts to protest yellow face casting in Miss Saigon on Broadway — and his own accidental casting of a white man as Asian. Mixing real events, real headlines and real people with fictional characters and dramatic license, Yellow Face explores and pokes fun at the role of race in modern American society, media, politics and theatre.
We’re thrilled to be returning to the Powell Street Festival for the eighth year in a row! Join us for a FREE, 30-minute show of our newest material. Find out what happens when Facebook gets racy and a haunting doesn’t go as planned. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Haruki Murakami, a queen and a ukulele also make appearances.
Note: General admission seating.
Date: Sunday, July 31
Place: Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street (@ Gore Avenue), Vancouver
Parking: Metered street parking available. We recommend carpooling, taking transit or biking.
Can’t make our upcoming show, but need a Fishy fix? Visit our YouTube channel to see some of our past performances. We’ll be rolling out new clips over the next several months so check back often.
Welcome to the brand new Assaulted Fish website! We’re happy you found us. Pull up a chair. Grab a coffee. Have a look around. If you like what you see, be sure to let our awesome website designer Wonderspark Creative know. (Thanks Angela!)
So what can you expect from this new website? Well, lots of things, including:
- Shameless plugging of upcoming shows
- Shameless plugging of videos of past performances
- Shameless plugging of our fellow comedians
- Shameless plugging of our talented friends and their projects
And just to mix it up a bit, a different member of the troupe will shamelessly plug every two months. Considering our troupe is made up of two extroverts and two introverts, this should be a very interesting experiment. Follow along and join in the conversation (just keep things clean and respectful please).
Finally, a big thanks to our fans, friends and family. We’re proud to have entertained you for eight years and we plan to continue doing so as long as you’ll have us.
Assaulted Fish is Seattle-bound for two shows on Fri, May 6th and Sat, May 7th! Details here.
Who’s Assaulted Fish? L-R: Marlene Dong, Kuan Foo, Nelson Wong, Diana Bang.
Courtesy of Manifest Photography