Thursday, November 10, 2011

The '1.5 generation'

Renee Liang's mother used to send her to school with two lunchboxes - one for her classmates to try all the "weird stuff" and one for Renee.

This scene, along with other real-life incidents, is on stage in Liang's new play First Asian A* B* - the A* B* refers to a team name they can't legally use.

Liang, who wrote The Bone Feeder and Lantern, is a New Zealand-born Asian, and is also a consultant paediatrician.

She feels it's time to tell the story of the '1.5' generation - people who are not first generation New Zealanders but who emigrated when young and grew up here.

"Coming from an inherited immigrant background, with a 'difference' which is sometimes more visible to others than to myself, I often wonder,'What defines me as Kiwi?'."

She cites veteran playwright, actor and director Oscar Kightley, responsible for Niu Sila and Fresh Off The Boat as influential in her decision to become a playwright.

Liang's younger sister Roseanne wrote and directed a movie earlier this year, My Wedding and Other Secrets, which had an autobiographical element, much like Liang's play.

First Asian A* B* came about in several ways.

"I was touring with another play which had 12 boys and we got wondering if there had actually been an Asian All Black.

"I know a lot of Asian immigrants.

- Hutt News

The '1.5 generation'

Mateship in sport:In Renee Liang's new play, Paul Fagamalo and Ben Teh play mates whose friendship is tested when an All Black spot is up for grabs.

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