What does it mean to be Asian in 2022? Faced with the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes and the continued need for representation and voice, the University of Hawaii at the Mānoa Drama and Dance Department and the Kennedy Theater will showcase the Asian-American experience in both Hawaii and on the American continent. The opening of the 2022-2023 theater season, Chinese, Japanese, everything mixesis an imagined theatrical production directed and directed by Reiko Ho.
The guest director directs a cast of all-Asian, female-identifying college students, presenting original scenes based on the cast’s collective personal experiences, news articles, and events from the past. This production explores adult themes and includes strong language and references to racism and racial slurs.
“Like a good Asian dish, it’s a little salty, a little sweet, a little sour, a little bitter and very tasty,” Ho said. empower them to grapple with our collective past and present as Asians in America. This show is inspired by this belief.
Borrowed from a local playground rhyme, Chinese, Japanese, everything mixes will also feature poems by a renowned local playwright Lee Tonouchi (also known as “Da Pidgin Guerilla”) in addition to original monologues, scenes and other miscellaneous performance pieces by student-performers.
Ticket prices range from $8 to $18 for the in-person production at the Earle Ernst Lab Theater which premieres September 21-24 at 7:30 p.m. and September 25 at 2 p.m. Some of the topics covered in the multimedia production range from Chinese Exclusion Law and World War I internment camps II to the memories of the cast members’ great-grandparents working on Hawaii plantations. The cast members discovered common traditions, even though they were raised all over Asia, Hawaii, or the continent. However, some shared experiences were not always pleasant to discover.
“We cried about how discrimination has crept into all of our lives and what we have lost living quietly as a ‘model minority,’” Ho said. “This show is a collage of inspired pieces of our discussions, our shared memories and stories, pop culture and what the world might look like through an Asian lens. We hope you enjoy our thoughts.
Ho is the artistic associate of the Honolulu Theater for Youth (HTY) and part of the Emmys award-winning team creating HTYthe hit tv show, The HELLO Way.
For more information, visit the department’s website.