[star rating =5/5]
THERE is no long preamble: arrive, get a drink of your choice and sit at a table like you might do any other Saturday afternoon at the Sweet Novotel. This Saturday, there were headphones on the table and when you put them on you became privy to a conversation taking place nearby.
Citizens of Nowhere? is an intimate performance, the actors are seated among the audience but it is experienced through headphones and includes light refreshments.
The overheard conversation is so natural and credible that it is easy to forget that it is a script. The café keeps working, as usual, people talk and eat, waiters take orders and all the while the audience is digesting a little piece of the life of the Lo’s and getting a rush from eavesdropping.
The story is easy to follow: divorced mum Linda Lo, has some important news to announce to two of her children – her son Jun Chi who has his upcoming wedding soon, and her daughter Jane that has big news of her own. Jun Chi is resented by his mother’s refusal to assist his nuptial day to avoid encountering his dad and stepmother Aileen.
Inter-generational fights, family values, politics, and cultural roots are all a part of this rather unconventional Edinburgh Festival Fringe production. It is a cry to identity, presented in a very intimate way.
Citizens of Nowhere? is an act that transpires intimacy and it was interesting to see an audience which felt like they were eavesdropping for real, there was a moment when Jun stormed out visibly upset, and everyone avoided looking directly at him as if it was a really awkward situation to witness, not one that guests were paying to see.
Linda Lo (PIK-SEN LIM) was impressively organic. She speaks about the struggles of her parents when they emigrated and her necessity of returning to Hong Kong, being a girl that liked dumplings and mah-jong and is proud of her heritage. I loved every second she gave me, her co-stars were excellent as well.
Written by Ming and originally directed by David Jiang, this real-time live audio drama was brought to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by the Chinese Art Now (CAN) and it is an experience no one should miss. Hopefully they will return and re-enact this production next year.
Let’s have a last toast to these Citizens of Everywhere: to “home”, where we all belong