ASIANS MISBEHAVIN’ IN 2002
nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
Asians Misbehavin' in 2002 at
CSV-Milagro Theatre is an hour and forty five minutes of comic skits and
performance poetry by Asian Americans looking more like original
Americans than our current Caucasian population.
August 15, 2002
Three writers/performers and three supporting cast members fire up wit and passion to enact stories of their lives with humor and sometimes not-so-underlying sarcasm. The skits are set off by Michelle Myers’ poetry—angry, proud, anguished. She performs passionately, with nuanced emotion, but I found the fast-paced, intense rush of words sometimes hard to follow. What I heard was compelling; I wish I'd understood more.
The comic skits cover just about everycliche regarding Asians—primarily Chinese, Japanese and Koreans (who inhabit 16 million square miles of this earth)—from their point of view. They’ve come to America (roughly a third the size, if size matters), to realize their dreams or the dreams of their parents: to escape poverty and oppression in their homeland: to honor their ancestors and culture, but in America; to become the next Yo Yo Ma or Silicon Valley whiz. Instead, this crew slams into the realities of prostitution, sweatshop labor, and discrimination.
Daniel Kim highlights the universality of racism by opening with a hilarious exchange in a Korean deli, and as Model Minority Man, he and his sidekick, Backlash Boy (F. Omar Telan) heroically come to the defense of their fellow Asian Americans. Or do they? The audience laughed and cheered enthusiastically at their attempts.
I particularly liked the skit "Plastique": an Asian youth (U-Shin Kim) decides plastic surgery is the answer. The doctors do the job, but the results are surprising, and thought provoking.
The pace is brisk, the acting (I did not mention Regie Cabico and his wonderful character acting) and directing by Deborah Nishimura are on the mark. No credits are given for lighting, set, or costumes, but everything works well for the pieces. For a refreshing look at the Asian American experience from a slyly funny and illuminating slant, this is a worthwhile evening of theatre.