Actor/playwright David Yip holds a large fan upon which images are projected for his project “Gold Mountain.”- photo courtesy of Van East Cultural Centre.
Gold Mountain will feature exciting multi-media technology in an interesting collaboration of Montreal’s Les Deux Mondes and Liverpool’s unitytheatre.
The media promo states that “David Yee is trying to piece together the broken jigsaw of his father’s life. In an epic journey from a small village in China, to war-torn Liverpool, through the horrors of the Atlantic convoys, follow Yee Lui’s story of friendship, addiction, and adversity. This stunning production features breath-taking imagery, engaging film, moving music, and extraordinary soundscapes. ”
Gold Mountain would be of interest to any immigrant group to any country, and the aspect of Chinese in Liverpool is an interesting twist, similar to the diversity of multiculturalism in Canada. Stories of the Chinese diaspora have much in common to the stories of the Italian, Irish, Indian and the Jewish diaspora to Canada, as well as the recent immigrants from Iran, Taiwan and Tibet.
It is the “Telling of Our Stories” that made “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Bend It Like Beckham” stories that related to all immigrants. But what makes Gold Mountain more interesting is the multi-media angle of a global story. It’s a new perspective of story telling with awesome use of modern technology.
Canada is a country of immigrants, and so Gold Mountain will relate to all Canadians, wherever they came from. But maybe for this story, BCers and Vancouverites are especially interested because BC is seen as the Gold Mountain of Canada, as thousands of Chinese migrant workers came to Canada first seeking gold in 1851, then building the railway in the Fraser Canyon, and working in the coal mines of Vancouver Island.
Presenting Asian-Canadian themed productions is a bit tricky in Vancouver. Many new Chinese immigrants really don’t seem to understand or care for stories about peasant immigrants in the 19th Century. Non-Asian-Canadians often aren’t interested in “ethnic stories”. But Joy Kogawa’s Obasan and Wayson Choy’s Jade Peony, are two of Canada ‘s most beloved novels. They have been emphasized that they tell Canadian stories, but are set in the Chinese and Japanese communities of Vancouver and BC. They also feature Canadian born characters, that explore what it means to be Canada. “Jade Peony” and “Obasan” are also close to my heart because I have been busy the past 10 years helping to promote them, and be involved in related projects, such as Vancouver Public Library’s One Book Once Vancouver featuring “Jade Peony”, and the “Save Joy Kogawa House” campaign in 2005.
Over the past few years, I have seen many theatre productions with Asian-Canadian themes such as Gateway Theatre’s production of “Forbidden Phoenix” (2011). Simon Johnston’s “Gold Mountain Guest” at the Arts Club, Denise Chong’s “The Concubine’s Children” put on in Nanaimo, as well as the recent “Red Letters” by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, UBC Theatre’s “Jade in the Coal” at the Frederic Wood in partnership with Pangea Arts and Theatre,
One of my favorites was the 2010 Mortal Coil production of “Salmon Row” that was performed in the Historic Britannia Shipyards at Steveston 2 summers ago, and the 2005 “Naomi’s Road” performed by the Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble. This is a mini-opera based on the children’s novel version of Obasan, which is again touring BC for their 2012-2013 season.
Here is the link to the Georgia Straight article by Alex Varty: