APACUNT and National Asian American Theater Festival

Something to do in New York: the National Asian American Theater Festival. This year’s festival seems to have very little connection to the performances from the first NAATF in 2007, which offered twenty-five groups and a lot more variety. Here are the options: Sharif Don’t Like It, a one man show about the treatment of people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent after 9/11, Bahu-Beti-Biwi, an Indian dance, Imelda, a musical about Imelda Marcos, APACUNT, a performance piece about a variety of Asian American topics, an interpretation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, and some screenplay readings.

I went to APACUNT on Wednesday, its opening night. The performance features a “panel” of three Asian American characters plus a “moderator” who is also the director. Each night has a different topic and on Wednesday it was “THE PAST: Isn’t it Semantic? The Unprofitability of “Asian American.” Alice Tuan, an academic, Kristina Wong, an actor obsessed with her reviews, and Soo-Jin Lee, an Audrey magazine-type character, discussed the label Asian American and then exhorted the audience to help them think of a different name. As in, we actually broke into groups and brainstormed names and some loose marketing ideas. Normally I love interactive and participatory over passive and spectator — but I wasn’t into it and in an audience of a dozen people, there’s limited room to disengage. Note: a British bloke in my group pulled at the corners of his eyes to describe the model Tyson Beckford. I guess he was too old to learn from Hannah Montana’s mistakes.

The remaining performances of APACUNT (pronounced appa-cunt) are:

Friday, Oct 16, 10:30pm
Creating a National Asian American Network
Join the Rapture now or be left behind to die.
The Chinese will buy us all out, so you might as well start packing now.

Saturday, Oct 17, 10:30pm
Writing in the Margins
I once stuck my dick in Judd Apatow’s mouth
Join the playletting, forge into our peanut gallery, and the freestyle challenge. Whine and cheese always provided. Special orations by Alice Tuan.

Sunday, Oct 18, 6pm
Free styling toward innovation in Asian American Theater and performance of the human in the 21st century.

The festival is held at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, New York.

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About Lily Huang

Lily Huang is a writer of Taiwanese descent, who lives on the East coast. She grew up in suburbia completely oblivious to Asian culture, and is making up for it now.
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