SLANTY EYED MAMA RE-BIRTH OF AN nASIAN

May 22nd - 29th, 2003
The Club

performed by: Kate Rigg
written by: Kate Rigg and Leah Ryan
directed by: Dave Mowers
violinist: Lyris Hung
special guest: Korean B-Girl Seoul Sonyk


To celebrate May as National Asian American Awareness Month, Kate Rigg returns to The Club at La MaMa from May 22 to 29 in "Slanty Eyed Mama: Re-birth of a nASIAN," an evening of contemporary comic monologues, which is accompanied by violinist Lyris Hung. Rigg describes it as "a combination of Def Poetry Jam and Def Comedy Jam, with a decidedly Asian slant." The work is written by Kate Rigg and Leah Ryan; director is Dave Mowers. Special guest is Korean B-Girl Seoul Sonyk.

The production updates her November, 2002 evening in The Club at La MaMa, which was titled "Birth of a nASIAN."

Kate Rigg is a "bad girl" comedian of Indonesian/Australian descent whose material satirizes Asian stereotypes with youthful abrasiveness. Toronto's Now called her "the most fearless, talented and versatile comedian of colour since Whoopi Goldberg and John Leguizamo." An earlier version of this show appeared in The Club at La MaMa November 7 to 10, 2002.

Leah Ryan is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and the Juilliard Playwrights program. Other plays include RAISED BY LESBIANS, The WIRE, BLEACH, CHOPPER, and HELLO, MEATMAN. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Through The Kitchen Window, More Monologues By and For Women, and The Best of Temp Slave, as well as in several small magazines. She is Fiction Editor at Punk Planet Magazine, and edited a literary anthology on the service industry for Garrett County Press, titled For Here or To Go, to be released in early 2004. She is also working on a novel, tentatively titled Sleep When You’re Dead. She’s at work on several new plays, including a collaboration with comic Susan Mele called ROXI STARR IN 3-D WITH ELVIS. She lives in Hell’s Kitchen, writes post-modern greeting card copy and teaches creative writing.

Time Magazine (Carole Buia) reported in August, 2001 that Rigg had become a staple of the NYC comedy scene with the success of her "Chink-O-Rama," a "postmodern variety show complete with Asian fly girls, disco music and outrageous sketches." That show also featured song-and-dance parodies with a political punch and became widely known through productions at Joe's Pub and Caroline's. "Birth of a nASIAN," a much more theatrical work, is her first show since then. In it, Ms. Rigg's humor shifts from broad musical parodies to character comedy combined with spoken word trip-hop. Rigg plays a "Token-Asian" newscaster, an Indian housewife-turned-dominatrix, a Chinas y Criollas girl form the 'hood, and a panoply of other wild urban characters. It's about the AmerAsian identity as seen through the artist's eyes, deepening the issues that are raised in "Chink-O-Rama." Lyris Hung, on electronic violin, creates a multi-leveled soundscape for the show using samples from classical chinese music, original beats and rock and roll pedals.

Backstage (Amelia David) wrote, "Move over, Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo, and Tracy Ullman. All I can say is, why is this unique talent not already being featured in her own HBO or Comedy Central cable special, or on 'SNL' or 'MadTV?'" Asian Week (Ji Hyun Lim) characterized "Chink-O-Rama" as a show whose wildly satirical, adroit language "takes identity politics to the next level."

Kate Rigg was raised in urban Canada and spent 3 years in Melbourne Australia where she won the Melbourne Comedy Festival Award, two experimental writing awards, and the Best of the Fringe Performance Award. She then moved to NYC to attend the Juilliard School's Drama Division, where she won the Interarts Award for interdisciplinary performance/production. Since graduation five years ago, she has been performing character comedy in New York and L.A. (Carolines on Broadway, Gotham, Boston, Joe's Pub, The Improv etc.) In that time she also wrote a musical, "Pictures of Dorian Gray" (National Musical Theater Conference participant, workshopped at the Manhattan Theater Club), two comic operas performed at The Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center, "A Suite for Fat Girls" and "Club Kid Cantata"; a play for young audiences, "The Phoenix Rides A Skateboard" which premiered in Toronto at Theater Passe Muraille, and the song cycle "Songs For Mr. Sister" which is being optioned by Illyria Theater in New York.

Ms. Rigg's first one-woman show "m/OTHER/land" was produced in New York, Toronto, and Melbourne, Australia. "Chink-O-Rama" premiered at PSNBC and ran at the New York International Fringe Festival, Joe's Pub, The HBO/Time Warner Workspace in Los Angeles, Buddies Theater in Toronto and The Brava Theater Center in San Francisco. "Birth of a nASIAN" was workshopped at PSNBC, The Penumbra Theater in Minneapolis and The Buddies in Bad Times Theater in Toronto. She is regularly asked to host events and strange competitions like Drag Queen Pageants and Sing Along Sound Of Music nationally. She is a producer of BIG TIT, an all female comedy jam. She has appeared at the Montreal Comedy Festival, Toyota Comedy Festival and Toronto's "We're Funny that Way Festival".

Her NY theater credits include "The Vagina Monologues" Off Broadway, Jessica Hagedorn's "Dogeaters," Paul Rudnick's "The Most Fabulous Story Every Told," roles on "OZ," "Law and Order," "Law and Order Criminal Intent," "The Guiding Light," "Wonderland," "CTV-Comedy Now," "NBC's Late Friday," four national commercials, the pilot, "The Human Race," and the pilot, "Kings of Comedy Primetime" for Fox TV.

Lyris Hung is a graduate of both Columbia University and the Juilliard School. She has recorded performed and toured extensively with a wide range of ensembles and soloists including: The Absolut Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, BonoVox, Bryan Adams, Ornette Coleman and Suzanne Vega. In addition to playing the violin and electric violin, she also composes, musical directs and improvises performance works. She produced the Manhattan Brass Quintet's album "Manhattan project" and is a regular member of NYC bands Quasilulu, the Mila Drumke Band, Dan Zanes, and Slanty Eyed Mama (with Kate Rigg). She has performed in clubs all over the city and is a very in demand session player.

In the show, Rigg brings characters like a "Token-Asian" newscaster , an South Asian housewife-turned-pro-dominatrix, a hundred year old creole trinidadian, and a panoply of other wild voices from her synaptic'hood. She writes, "See good asian girls gone baaad, twisting their classical training to further kick the ass of the pidgin speaking GI loving manicuring kung fu kicking flower arranging ping pong shooting violin playing (!!) math equation solving laundry taking opium smoking delicate oriental lotus flowers that exist in the media's take away minds."

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