What inspired the title The Trouble with Asian Men and creating a show on this subject?
Well this is very unusual. We found the title and thought it was so good we made a show to speak to the title! I had observed the headphone verbatim technique and loved the quality of acting it brought from the actor, so we put the title and technique together and there you have it.
How long did yourself, Sudha Bhuchar and Louise Wallinger spend gathering and editing the verbatim interviews that make up the piece’s UK based script?
Getting the interviews takes a long time, it is very labour intensive, you can do a three hour interview and get nothing! All in all we spent about six months doing the interviews.
How did it go with getting the interviews in Australia? Were you pleased with what you got?
The Australian material is very good. Funny, touching and whilst similar at times in themes, it’s very particular to the Indian experience in Australia.
In the past, how have the interviewees reacted to see themselves portrayed on stage?
On so many occasions people have not recognised themselves. When people do recognise themselves they feel flattered!
Could you share with us some of your favourite moments or anecdotes from the Aussie show?
There are some very funny Australian nuggets, to give you an idea: “We Indians like to bargain… my dad gets very frustrated when he realises he can’t bargain with Telstrar.” Australasian woman giving advice: “Its important to find a good man to marry but much more important to make sure the mother in law is not too much trouble.” Poor Australasian guy who wants to get off with an Indian girl but he can’t as he never comes up to their standard – he had to go out only with Aussie chicks as they tend to rough it out a bit more!
Please could you tell us a little bit about the unique verbatim method used in The Trouble with Asian Men? What kinds of things can attendees of the verbatim theatre workshop expect to learn?
Its a simple but very effective and effecting technique. You record someone and listen to the interview. The most poignant bits of the interview surface quite quickly. We ask participants to choose a section and then start listening and verbalising what they are listening to at the same time. For the technique to work one needs to stay absolutely exact and not exaggerate, capturing all the idiosyncratic rhythms and expressions of every day speech.
We are thrilled to bring to Parramasala Festival, Sydney a new Aussie version of The Trouble with Asian Men, featuring core cast members Amit Sharma and Niall Ray with a different local guest performer each night (Drew Fairley, Craig Meneaud, John Shrimpton, Vico Thai).