Lantern at BATS Theatre (1st May 2009)

Damien and I caught up this evening to see the play, Lantern, at BATS Theatre. The show cost $18 per person, started at 6.30pm and lasted 85 minutes with no interval. Written by NZ-Chinese playwright, Renee Liang, and featuring 2 NZ-Chinese cast (one was a former actress in local weekday TV drama, Shortland Street), it was a very interesting play about what it means to be family.

The 2 actors played 9 characters in between them, all very well portrayed in action and voice. It was a bit confusing at first trying to differentiate the characters but I thought it was really cool to watch the actors change from one character to another with such smooth transition. Amazing! The story was about Chinese New Year Eve where the individuals in the Chen family walked the audience through their lives – communication within the family, family love, friendship, intercultural dating, adapting to the lifestyle and culture in NZ and lives of NZ-born kids of the immigrants – working through their issues before sitting together for the New Year Eve dinner. Many of the scenes hit too close to home having experienced some of the challenges living abroad myself.

We sat at the front row of the small theatre watching the play while sipping our beers. Oh my god – there were times that I was tempted to just walk into the stage! There were several moments that I felt my personal space invaded when the actors got too close!! A rather unique experience sitting so near and feeling as if part of the play. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend you watch this play if it does come to your town. Was really glad that we did end up coming out in the cold to watch the play – beats staying in, for sure! We stayed on at The Pit Bar of the theatre for the Q&A session where the audience had an up-close and personal opportunity to have their say in what they thought of the play.

Left the bar around 8pm and headed over to Momo Tea for dinner. I tried their Orange Beef special this time while Damien had the old favourite, Malaysian Fried Kuey Tiaw, and of course, another 2 drinks on the menu we hadn’t tried. It was nice to catch up and honestly, I’m starting to feel a bit sad knowing that in a few weeks, my good friend whom I’ve build a close relationship with over the last year will be leaving the country for Ireland. Yeah, Damien’s heading off to Ireland to work for awhile and I’ll miss our regular weekly catch-ups :/ Hmm, the guys in my circle are leaving one after another this year – Helbert has left, next in line is Claus, followed by Damien and later this year, Scott. Was joking with the guys that I should start recruiting new guys in my harem of men before they go so that the numbers stay put – haha! Well, we shall see if any new guys pop up…


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