On the 19th of October, I went to the Norman Rothstein community centre to watch a play titled Who’s My Neighbour about Chinese immigrants coming to Vancouver in the 21st century. The production had 2 runs (a 4:30 and 7:30 viewings with characters being doublecast) and was conceived by the Sacrificium Society of Production.
Most (if not all, to the best of my knowledge) of the cast did not actively pursue acting; I know one of the actors and he operates as a tour guide as his day job. There was no room in the program for bios, so any further information I could have tried to glean from the people working on this show was lost.
There is not much of a central plot to this show, as it chronicles the stories of a few characters, some of them not necessarily having to do with one another, which makes it harder to follow without a central conflict or something that brings all the characters together besides just living by one another.
While I did not have a big problem with understanding what the characters (as there was dialogue being brought up in the back in both Chinese and English that synced up (for the most part) with the actors), it was hard to connect with the characters; their names were barely mentioned over the course of the play and that made the characters less memorable than they could have been. The ones I do remember vividly are Wai Wai, a girl who lives with an overbearing mother; Yan Yan, Wai Wai’s teenage cousin who is almost to term; and Wayne, Wai Wai’s boyfriend who appears to have the best parents giving him stuff. One suggestion that I have for this production is to use the characters’ names more so that they stick in the audience’s memory and don’t conglomerate into eerily similar clones.
There were two points in the play that were vivid: Wai Wai talking to her mother who won’t go out with friends and near the end of the scene exploding and telling her mother that she just wants a little time for herself, followed by a hug to comfort the latter. The other was when a young woman is being seen off by her grandmother (???) Irene at the airport for a job offer in Shanghai. The two bicker and try to outwait the other before the girl leaves, but not before coming back and giving her grandmother a final goodbye.
All in all, it was an adequate play. The preachiness of Jesus was a little overbearing at some parts, but for an amateur company, it was done pretty well.