Ma Ma Ma Mad

Pike, Shane & Tong, Merlynn (2016) Ma Ma Ma Mad. [Live Performance (Play)]

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Ma Ma Ma Mad is an autobiographical work, written and performed by Singaporean-Australian theatre maker Merlynn Tong. This production, presented at the Brisbane Powerhouse in December 2015, was a multi-genre work incorporating aspects of Butoh, physical theatre, cabaret and contemporary monologue. More than an experiment in mixed performative forms, however, this particular production was also an exercise in inter-cultural collaboration as well as gender in (and of) performance. Heavily influenced by the creator's experiences growing up in urban Southeast Asia, the director's specialisation in contemporary Australian theatre and experience telling uniquely Australian stories worked to manipulate the form in an endeavour to succinctly speak to local audiences, without pandering to entrenched stereotypes or diluting the underlying Chinese-Singaporean themes. The success of this production was also somewhat of a personal challenge for the creatives, after being told by some of Brisbane's most influential theatre venues and festivals that they would rather not support the work because a) it was a one woman show, and b) it was a one woman show about an Asian woman; and therefore would not sell well. One very influential local producer even said that he already had a one-woman show about an Asian person programmed, so he couldn't possibly program another. Operating in such a biased and out-of-touch artistic environment was seen as an easy challenge for the artists involved, which resulted in a highly successful and critically acclaimed sell-out run of Ma Ma Ma Mad, followed by offers to tour the work nationally and internationally. As such, this production also stands as a practical example of the ingrained and patriarchal structures of the Australian arts scene, and how art can work to break down the very barriers that it has helped to construct through a lack of vision and diversity amongst its leaders.

Impact and interest:

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11 since deposited on 01 Apr 2016
11 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 94331
Item Type: Creative Work (Live Performance (Play))
Refereed: No
Other Contributors:
Role Contributors
  • Shane Pike
  • Merlynn Tong
  • Zoë Tuffin
  • Shane Pike
Funders: Wax Lyrical Productions, Brisbane Powerhouse
Measurements or Duration: 60mins
Publisher: Playlab
Location: From date: To date:
Brisbane Powerhouse 2016-12-03 2016-12-06
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Practice led research, Women in theatre, Inter-cultural performance, Gender in Performance, Performing arts
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Culture Gender Sexuality (200205)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Statement: Copyright in the text remains with the author. Copyright in particular aspects of the work related to this specific production remain with the relevant creative and includes, but is not limited to, the director, actor, set lighting and stage designer.
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2016 01:21
Last Modified: 10 May 2016 02:11

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