1. Our Past, Our Present
As the introductory act to Slanted this act embodies the lives that we live and foreshadows some of the intercultural challenges and emotions that we struggle with.
It culminates in a piece that represents the impacts of colonization where so much remains to be unpacked.
2. In the Name of Morality
This act represents the beginning of immigration to North America and the hardships that immigrants (and their families who were prohibited to immigrate) endured. This sheds light on the little known Page Act, which effectively prohibited the entry of female East Asian immigrants into the United States, especially Chinese women. This was done under the semblance of maintaining moral and sexual virtue (an early impetus of the hyper-sexualization of Asian women that endures today) with its truer intentions to prevent Asian migrants from setting roots and family.
This duet explores the adversities immigrants faced in finding a place to call home after moving to North America when you are seen as an other, the painfulness of being separated from family, and the difficulty of trying to navigate how to root oneself in both Asian and North American cultures.
3. To Eat Bitterness
Chapter 1, "Model Minority", explores the myth and stereotype. We see that as early as the 1920s, the attitudes of being an industrious people were already present. This myth would go to endure, with manufactured reinforcements during World War 2 to drive a wedge between the Chinese and Japanese people. It persists today and drives a wedge between BIPOC communities. As we try to break out of this stereotype, it continues to be applied through a complex mixture of western and our own intercultural attitudes, expectations and behaviours.
Chapter 2, "The Bitter Aftertaste" explores the complications of toxic masculinity in the Asian community uses drag to express the bonds in which Asian masculinity is structured and reinforces gendered narratives within society. Martial artist, Fu Man Chu, comedic relief, nerdy side character in popular hollywood films. These stereotypes of who Asian men should be are deeply ingrained and are difficult to unlearn. Even when one breaks free from this mindset, the internal and external views of how one should be an “Asian Man” continue to resurface.
Too often, the identity and the experiences of Asians are painted with the same brush. Made up of many countries, cultures, ethnic groups, economies and histories - East and South East Asia is diverse. While we may have shared experiences, we also have unique experiences.
This series of individual scenes explores and sheds lights on some of the different lived experiences we have as a diaspora. From the half-Asian experience, to struggles with how to connect with our parents, and the immigrant experience, this act shows the gamut of the intricacies of the diaspora.
In this act, we reflect on and unpack factors that colour the lived experiences of so many of the East and South East Asian diaspora. It begins by shedding light on the things that have been said to us by others but also from within our own community. The compounding and overlapping encounters lead many of us to experience complexity around identity, beauty, femininity, masculinity and more.
The final act demonstrates that despite all the adversity that our ancestors experienced, the stereotypes, the xenophobia we still see today and our own internalizations of colonization – we are still here. Our experiences, identifies and voices in the BIPOC community is uniquely our own and we are a proud #veryasian community.