Michelle Law's frustration with the current theatre scene motivated her to pen her debut play.
Whenever I see theatre in Australia I like to watch the people in the audience. They sigh, laugh and cry with recognition as the story unfolding on stage touches them, connects them, and validates their existence — something I rarely experience and makes me deeply envious. Who knew that being made to feel unwelcome and invisible in my own country was something that also extended to the art I consumed. I would leave shows feeling very alone.
I want Single Asian Female to play a small role in changing that for people like me. People of colour. Women. Migrants. Outliers. The Other. This show is a love letter to them. And I want those in positions of privilege to gain some new insights: namely that we are here, we have been listening, and that now it is our turn to speak. But above all, I want audiences to be entertained. These are difficult issues to dissect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a lot of fun unpacking them along the way.
Single Asian Female is full of the things I love: Doraemon, ‘90s hits, and social politics. It shines a spotlight on labels; those we assign ourselves and others, and how we struggle against the limitations imposed by those labels in order to lead authentic lives. The Wong family women are real to me because they were inspired by people I know: generous, assertive, resilient women who hold the world on their shoulders. And I have been blessed to meet more of these incredible women in the process of making this show.
Collaborating with director Claire Christian has been a pure joy. From day one she knew instinctively how to realise the characters and world I’d created with attention and care. Working with Claire to assemble a team of extremely gifted cast and creatives who gel together so beautifully, like a real family, has been a surreal experience that fills me with gratitude. (Also disgust, because everyone who’s worked on this production is offensively attractive.)
This play would not have been possible without them, nor would it have been possible without Lotus, the series of workshops led by Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) and Playwriting Australia that fosters Asian Australian playwrights and helped me realise I had a story to tell. Single Asian Female also wouldn’t exist without the encouragement and support of mentors and cheerleaders like Maxine Mellor, Glyn Roberts and my fellow Lotus Brisbane girls.
Thank you for seeing Single Asian Female. Whether you’re single, Asian or female, or none of those things, you’ve made a choice to see work from a new and challenging perspective. It’s exciting. It’s also exciting that you’ll be joining us for karaoke during the show.
(Published in Single Asian Female program for Belvoir St Theatre season)