Category Archives: The Trouble with Asian Men
Interview with Kristine, Niall Ray & Amit Sharma for ‘The Trouble with Asian Men’ on SBS World News Australia
So we all set off from freezing Heathrow on Thursday night and got to Sydney at 7am Saturday morning – we survived the interminable flight with various strategies including watching Prometheus (or terrible rom-coms) on the tiny back of the seat screen, drinking multiple free sauvignon blancs and eating lemon sherbets and surprisingly good airline food. Brief stop off in Singapore involved a visit to the steamy outdoor cactus garden and a quick shower on the oddly named “Rainforest” level.
We were welcomed by the fabulous and friendly Parramasala team, up very early but still smiling while we checked in to our hotel right in the centre of Parramatta. Then immediately off to seek out breakfast at the cafe across the road, to be refuelled with fantastic pancakes and blueberries and full englishes. Buoyed by caffeine, we set off to explore Parramatta a bit and immediately found the Town Hall where we are performing 5mins down the road and wandered around the rest of the place, appreciating all the local wildlife – cockatoos in the park, lizards by the river and Westfield window shoppers. All slightly dazed and jet lagged by the evening, but those of us who were still awake managed to wolf down some “Thaiinabox” curry for dinner, shamefully with only tap water.
Sunday was our rest day so took the small ferry into Sydney and explored the sights and sounds – hard not to be impressed by the stunning harbour views and Opera House on a sunny afternoon. Fantastic dinner in the suburbs of Blue eye trevalla ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_butterfish ) , Hokey Pokey ice cream waffle and some more Sauvignon Blanc…
Monday – we headed to the Town Hall for our tech run with the lovely Penny, our Stage Manager. SBS (Australia TV channel – multilingual and multicultural broadcaster) ( http://www.sbs.com.au/ ) came and filmed a bit and interviewed Kristine and the boys – turns out they’re not quite sure what “the trouble with asian men” is either – ask an Asian man and they’ll say “nothing”, ask a woman and they’ll tell you something completely different… We met the lovely John Shrimpton who is one of our guest performers and had a fun rehearsal in the afternoon, playing around with some of the tracks. Re-stocked on wine and beer from the nearby bottle shop. Had a quick dip in the small and quite bracing outdoor hotel pool, then dinner in a great Lebanese restaurant with plates of falafel, halloumi, tabbouleh and grilled “eggplant”, with some more Sauvignon Blanc…
Tuesday – met the hilarious Craig Meneaud and Drew Fairley who are guest performers and had a chuckle playing around with tracks between them – great to hear them having a laugh with some of the British interviews. Looking forward to our first preview later on. Managed to sneak in another SauvBlanc pre show and was great to finally get some audience in and hear their response to the material – especially the new Australian interviews. It went down really well – the boys and Penny did us proud, and had a good chat with some audience members afterwards and their take on it all. Late dinner was an Italian on the corner, which wasn’t such a massive hit unfortunately, but washed down with some more SB / beer. Still have to try the chocolate with churros place that is tempting us daily opposite…surely it would be churlish to miss out on a Time Out suggestion…
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).