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Monolouges Reviews Vibewire Review

Lian Low 05 May 05 Monologues is a series of theatrical vignettes presented through a mix of movement, dance, comedy and tragedy, which explores some of the various socio-economic roles played by Asian women. These include the roles of wife, mother, daughter and sex worker. Milking Madam Butterfly (Yet Again), performed by Shireen Morris, calls into question the role of opera heroines !sing a "rechtian style of theatre, the dramatisation of the role includes a mi# n$ match of Madame "utterfly, a tal% show host and an actor&playing&Madame "utterfly&becoming&impassioned&narrator 'n Virgin Sale, Shireen Morris, (aori )amamoto and *anette )oe inhabit the characters of three prostitutes The story is a potent exploration of young girls who are sold into prostitution by their parents. The scripting is compelling and gives shape to the heartbreaking lives of these prostitutes. ' found the sub+ect matter of Woman on Top fascinating, particularly when compared to the content of the other Monologues performances (athleen "aguio who plays the ,rime Minister$s wife, resplendent in an eye&catching emerald dress, gives a remar%able performance "aguio embodies her character believably, and leaves her audience wondering +ust how many ,rime Minister$s wives sacrifice se# and love for power S.S.S. etired !rostitute, in contrast to Woman on Top, is a vignette about another type of woman in power *anette )oe plays a retired prostitute, who by the age of -. had slept with /,000 men 'n theatrical white, symbolising age and wisdom, the retired prostitute offers insights into the characteristics men loo% for in 0sian women 1 2S S S $ or 2Small, Se#y, Subservient$ )oe gives a graceful and sumptuous performance of this retired prostitute, now in control of her life Arri"eder#i Tokyo offers a hilarious tale of an 'talian woman married to a *apanese man 3ultural differences are played out symbolically through food 4he 'talian wife bemoans the blandness of *apanese food 1 steamed not fried & and the over& proliferation of soy sauce 5iana Stathis, as the 'talian wife, gives a raw and sensual performance and a comic highlight to the overall production 6ot unli%e Arri"eder#i Tokyo, !risoner of Soy Sau#e, offers another ta%e on cultural difference and food 4his time, it is the 2wisdom of 0sia in *apanese food$ Mi%i 7i%awa masterfully commands the roles of both the *apanese housewife and the 0ustralian husband 0s the hysterical *apanese housewife, she leaves us in no doubt as to who the real master of the house is 1 she is no 2docile oriental woman$ 0s the pre+udicial 0ustralian husband, we are provided with an insight into the origins of his opinions & his grandfather during the war believed that all goo%s were savages and uncivilised While the husbands ultimate change in character is somewhat unconvincing, the comic ending is priceless, as the apanese housewife succeeds in turning her husband into a !docile western man " a prisoner of soy sauce.

T$e %o&ry is the tragic tale of an arranged marriage in 'ndia, performed by Mandy Sebasio&7ng, Shireen Morris and 5aniela Lucchetti 4he story is of an 'ndian woman bound by tradition to her parents, her husband and her husband$s family 4he story s%etches the poignant and cruel fate of a woman at the mercy of her abusive husband 4hough it is powerful, ' felt that some parts of the dramatisation and characterisation of the roles were lac%ing in comparison to the other vignettes in Monologues. 'apanese Medea is the story of a *apanese woman and her husband, who are sent to San 8rancisco to wor% 4he story is one of a highly educated woman who, in a loveless marriage, has borne two children from 2two impersonal humpings$ )er isolation from her husband and loneliness in San 8rancisco, results in 2madness$, and imports tragic consequences Mi%i 7i%awa as the *apanese Medea gives a riveting performance filled with pathos, which is sustained throughout 0s a young 0sian woman, ' am constantly loo%ing for representations that spea% to me 'n Monologues, ' was drawn into the stories of these women 0s writer9director, 0sa :im ,alomera says in her introduction before the performance, the issues e#plored are not only 0sian women$s issues, they are universally relevant insights that translate across genders and cultures The Good: #rilliant scripting, powerful stories, beautiful costumes and some unforgettable performances. The Bad: $ome of the performances and characterisations border on caricatures. The Vibe: An important piece of theatre that offers powerful stories drawn from research undertaken by the writer%director, in collaboration with &'($)* and &'+)(,.

4he 0ge
)elen 4homson May /nd /005 4his production by the ;omen of 0sia 3ompany has a long collaborative history 4he eight female performers together represent a %aleidoscope of 0sian female e#perience, their own racial origins as varied as the material they present 4here is an interesting contrast between the liberated performers themselves and the female predicaments they depict in their monologues 4here are moments when it seems as though 0sian women, stereotyped as <small, se#y and subservient<, are hopelessly trapped in social practices that ma%e pitiful victims of them "ut some of the characters on stage find they can e#ercise power in even the most subservient of roles 4he prime minister=s wife, for e#ample, although privately ignored and long since se#ually replaced, discovers that her public role as the e#emplary support of the leader of an emerging country can actually reverse the power relationship with her husband 6o such luc% for some of the other women, however 4he two *apanese children sold into prostitution by their parents, in Virgin Sale +ustifiably claim <the stilts of our

parent=s house are borne of our bones< 4he retired prostitute in a later monologue has an illusion of power that is soon tragically e#ploded >qually heart&rending is T$e %o&ry, a story of an 'ndian arranged marriage suffered by the young wife at the hands of her mother&in&law 4his monologue, and the two about prostitution, highlight one of the show=s most significant themes 4his is the part played by other women in the enslavement of girls, often to brutal male se#ual fantasies 't is not all grim, however 4here is one funny episode of a multi&racial culinary clash? Arri"eder#i Tokyo. 4old by the 'talian wife of a *apanese man, it describes her frustration at facing what seems to her a starvation diet of fish and rice 4he same %ind of struggle goes on between a *apanese wife and her 0ustralian husband in !risoner of Soy Sau#e, but here the feisty woman is clearly winning the battle 4he show ends with 'apanese Medea, a tragic tale of the sacrifice of two children and the failure of a loveless arranged marriage This is altogether engaging, beautifully performed and thought-provoking work.