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Event: The First Prime Time Asian Sitcom

The world premiere of anarchically cheeky,  genre-messing black comedy The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom, transforms Q Theatre’s Loft into a fast-paced live TV studio. Playing November 3 – 27, this show blazes with canned laughter and trash talk, disarming audiences to consider stereotypes, commodity culture – and what the hell ‘Pan Asian representation’ really means.

The stage is set. Enter a cool Asian, a bougie AF Asian, an awkward Asian, a smart Asian and a bossy Asian – the network has its diversity cards ticked with its first all-Asian sitcom. But will the creator’s attempt at ‘authentic’, ‘Pan Asian’ ‘representation’ live up to the expectations of their peers? How much control are the writers willing to cede for representation on a mainstream network? And whose pockets are the audience really lining?

This thrillingly unique-to-Aotearoa premiere comes from writer, filmmaker and producer Nahyeon Lee. Building on development seasons with both Proudly Asian Theatre’s Fresh Off The Page and Tawata Productions’ Breaking Ground, this production marks Lee’s playwriting debut and follows the success of her work in feature film Kāinga (official selection New Zealand International Film Festival 2022 & Melbourne International Film Festival 2022). Her work strives to dismantle hegemonies, and the provocatively named The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom is no exception.

This production marks a return to Aotearoa for international star Dawn Cheong. Cheong has enjoyed an illustrious career in Malaysia with numerous stage and screen credits, garnering nominations for Best Actress at the Malaysian Film Critics Awards and Best Actress and Most Promising Actor at the Film Festival Malaysia, which she won. She is best known to kiwi audiences for her role in Mīria George’s The Night Mechanics, which saw her take home the 2017 Outstanding Performance award at the Wellington Theatre Awards.

Dawn is joined by Uhyoung Choi – 최우영 (Scenes from a Yellow Peril, Shortland Street), and Toi Whakaari graduates Jess Hong (48 Nights on Hope StreetThe Brokenwood Mysteries), Ariadne Baltazar (Duffy TheatreKāinga), and Jehangir Homavazir (The Mourning AfterBatch). This cast of exciting next generation talent is directed by Ahi Karunaharan.

The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom asks audiences to examine the complex burden that Asian creatives carry in representing their communities, and ultimately asks, does imperfect representation do more harm than good?

“I wrote Prime-Time in a fit of fury” says writer Nahyeon Lee. “I felt myself existing in a ridiculous paradox, where Asianness was defined by others, both valued and feared. We are closer than ever in spaces of diversity, but it seems these are the only spaces I have been allowed into. I want this play to push the conversation about what it means to be in the diaspora in Aotearoa, and interrogate who holds the power in the creation of representation.

Following Jasmine Lee-Jones’ seven methods of killing kylie jenner and Ella Hickson’s The Writer, Nahyeon Lee rounds out a trio of female playwrights that have defined Silo’s 2022 season with their dedication to questioning form, the identities we construct, and the identities constructed for us. The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom continues Silo’s commitment to championing playful, subversive, and astute storytelling that speaks truth to power and doesn’t simply reflect our world – it shapes it.

The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom plays 
Q Theatre – Loft
Thurs 3 Nov – Sun 27 Nov 2022
Tues – Weds: 7pm, Thurs – Sat: 8pm, Sun: 5pm
Tickets at qtheatre.co.nz

For more info visit www.silotheatre.co.nz

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