Never Left Canada

Photo Credit: Gein Wong

Never Left Canada is a piece created during my one-week residency at lemonTree creations, April 2014. It is a work in progress that I continue to develop.

I was taught to give the “right” answer, not the true answer. I was taught to lie because nobody in power wants to hear the truth. My brain split into two at the customs. “What’s your citizenship?” I wanted to say Canada instead of Hong Kong. What the fuck. I’m not even 1% Canadian. They said “you are a visitor”. Remove your jackets, put your hands there, spread your legs, wider, look here, look up.

I am less than 1% of the population. I am Wittgenstein, Lars von Trier, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Leonard Cohen, Marilyn Manson, Al Pacino, Adrien Brody, Daniel Day-Lewis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nicole Kidman among all the other white folks that I know on the famous INFJs list. I am also Laden, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Chiang Kai-shek. An exhausted body trying to be many.

In Response To
the systemic problems that affect me on a daily basis. I cannot plan my art. I cannot answer the question “How have you been?” without only considering how I am doing that particular day. There is always “something” going on. A close friend moves away, getting sick, no food in the fridge, there are only 28 days this month and I gotta pay rent, someone’s hurt, someone dies.

I am processing my experience at the border and the heartbreaking fact that my tour with the Heels on Wheels ends way too soon. The stops that I failed to visit are: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Pittsburg, NYC, Providence, Brooklyn. Maybe the residency is about speaking to them, like one going on and on about their old girlfriends to a new date. I try to imagine how healing looks like in this case. Which kinds of activism empower? Which ones don’t?

My original proposal for this residency at lemonTree was “Queer Asian Clown Learning Theatre”. I asked six people to suggest a reading and a challenge as part of my process. Three of which responded: Catherine Hernandez, Coman Poon, and Rob Lok. With the change of exploration subject, I still try to find ways to apply what these knowledge donors have written to me.
A fellow touring artist said, “Alvis is funny. But only on stage.” I don’t know if I want to be funny anymore. Right now, nothing seems too funny. When I don’t try to be funny am I still funny? And if I am not funny am I still of use? If I can’t guarantee to make you laugh will you still come see the show?

Duration: 60 minutes
Director: Gein Wong
Respected Knowledge Donors: Catherine Hernandez, Coman Poon, Rob Lok

Show Info:
Two shows on Wed 30th April 2014
8:30pm & 10:00pm