Inspired by tragedy, this play tackles the Asian model minority myth

by Krystle Alarcon, ABS-CBN News

MONTREAL, CANADA — This play, called Lucky, examines the myth that Asians are “model minorities.”

It’s inspired by a true story of a Vietnamese woman in Toronto who hired hitmen to kill her own parents — because she couldn’t stand the pressures they put on her to get into medical school.

“I was really fascinated by Nina’s struggles, like she was really oppressed by her family and they just had huge expectations and how it’s really driven her into a corner and as a person who just wants freedom, she’s trying to find her freedom in any way she can,” said Sophie Gee, the play’s director.

Filipina playwright Marie Barlizo hopes her script shows the damaging effects of living up to such high standards. She knows firsthand how hard it is.

“I felt a lot of pressure. But I also see my family members being pressured. And I think that that’s something that’s very true to the Filipino culture, of being perfect — of being the most beautiful, the most skinniest, the most successful, all of those things, being the perfect family, driving the right cars, having the Gucci or Louis bags… all of that. And I think that all of that doesn’t really matter,” said Barlizo.

For Filipino actor Jeremy Cabrera, that’s very refreshing.

“Coming into the audition room and seeing a bunch of Asians, to me, it was rather bizarre… to me because, I felt that it was a great thing, but then I was like, this is also a bad thing. Because of the fact that I’m not used to seeing such a thing happen.”

Barlizo said it was also important to have an Asian director and a lot of Asian actors in the play as well.

Lucky runs in the Montreal Fringe Festival from June 1st to June 17th.


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