Friday, November 5, 2010

Show #60 "The Clockwork Professor" with SIS Writers Group

By now, I've gone past my original goal of seeing 52 shows during 2010. Quite honestly, the wind has gone out of my sails a bit since then, but sometimes there are events and shows that make the sailboat fly once more.

This show is one of them.

"The Clockwork Professor" is an original script penned by Maggie Lee, a Seattle-based Asian-American playwright who authored the show "Kindred Spirits" that I blogged about this past summer. When I saw "Spirits" last August, I remember thinking how Ms. Lee had a real knack for fun, intriguing story-telling. After seeing this staged reading of "Clockwork," I KNOW she has that gift.

Truth be told, the main reason I came to this reading is because my son Tim is in the cast. But, after seeing this story, Tim's participation became a wonderful bonus to the evening, not simply the main event.

This is a tale that is part sci-fi, part caper flick, part comedy and part steam punk adventure. Put it all together and it is pure, campy fun. (Although I don't really know if Ms. Lee intended it to be campy, but that interpretation by the director only added to my enjoyment.)

"Clockwork" is part of a weekend-long festival called "Insatiable." This is their 5th annual festival showcasing the work of various Asian-American playwrights who are members of the SIS Writers Group in Seattle. And for those who aren't too familiar with the state of Asian-American theatre, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Not too long ago, "Asian-American theatre" conjured up images such as dramas about a) the Japanese internment, b) indentured Chinese workers or c) just about any disenfranchised group of immigrants and their struggles against racism.

Take a look at what we Asians have to offer now. Stories of modern day people, coping with issues that could happen to anyone, anywhere. We have comedies, dramas, adventures, sci-fi steam punk name it. The characters are not necessarily Asians. They could be (and are!!) played by actors of all ethnicities.

Maggie Lee gets that. The SIS Writers get that.

I'm so glad they do. Since the actor's world is probably the last remaining endeavor where one can be hired (or not hired) based solely on one's race, age or gender, it can leave us ethnic minorities out of the mix. I was glad that Tim was able to participate in this reading. I was especially glad he got to play the handsome hero. his character used some stereotypical Asian martial arts moves. That's okay. Most other plays would have had him be the nerdy guy whose only weapon was his pocket calculator.

This is much better. Like the sci-fi inventions in the story, this is a portal that is opening that was once closed to us.

Bravo Maggie!! Keep on writing! The world needs authors like you.

Photograph courtesy of Roger Tang

1 comment:

  1. Wait a minute...60. Are you going for your pension (can I grab some? Last weekend we had 4 plays to see. I saw none).

    ahoj aya