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."