By Christa Tandana, Senior Plogger The room is pitch black. You hear a strange noise, something like a rudder. It sputters, louder and louder, increasing to a climax. Gradually, the lights turn on, revealing the perpetrator - a young woman eating a bowl of noodles.
Made in Taiwan is the story of Michelle Krusiec and it’s about more than how she eats her noodles. With a hysterical Chinese mother and a tall, blonde-haired blue-eyed father, Michelle had her share of identity struggles. Her mother tried to raise her to be a good Chinese girl, but like many Asian parents, she can never be pleased. Michelle takes you through her awkward lunch moments, freedom in college, dancing in an all African-American dance company, and just being her mother’s daughter!
This character is easy to relate to, even if you’re not Chinese. Her story is filled with hilarious antics and difficult struggles with being both Chinese and American. Michelle’s relationship with her mother may seem somewhat insane to most people, but, at the heart of their relationship lies a common fear in all relationships – the fear to be alone.
Michelle Krusiec wrote and acted in this autobiographical one-person show. If you’ve never been to a one-person show before, it means that the cast has only one actor. That one actor plays a number of different characters. As you can imagine, that is really difficult to do. Michelle brilliantly executed the flow between herself to her mother to her quirky aunties and other characters without pause, guiding the audience smoothly along her life story.
You might not realize it, but it is very difficult for Asian Americans to work in theatre. It’s already enough that most Asian parents pressure their children to find a “real” job like a doctor or a lawyer. Add to that there are not many characters for Asian Americans to play and there aren’t many plays that address Asian American issues. There have been a few films that address these concerns like The Joy Luck Club and Saving Face, but certainly not enough. Some, like Michelle and David Henry Hwang, have decided to write something on their own.
The Fringe Festival is known to have some oddities, and when you pick a show, you don’t really know what is going to happen next. Made in Taiwan is sharp, witty, relevant and meaningful. It is a wonderful marriage of comedy and heartfelt struggle that I would recommend it to anyone!
Schedule and ticket information here.