Bilingual Comedy SKYDUCK Brings Action Movie Spectacle To Belvoir
Why don't more people go to the theatre? Because there aren't enough explosions. Skyduck: A Chinese Spy Comedy is coming to Belvoir's 25A season to change that.
One man plays seven hilarious characters in a rollicking story of international espionage, from a lovestruck Chinese secret agent to a dazzling J-Pop starlet to a foulmouthed Australian aeronautic choreographer - and half the story is in Mandarin.
"The show is an attempt to answer the eternal question of life: how do you do a Hollywood-level aerial dogfight live on stage?" says creator and star Wang. "The show is a love letter to the over-the-top action movies I grew up with, in a wild East meets West mash-up that celebrates everything theatre can achieve. And some things it can't."
In 1993, China launches Operation Skyduck, and Captain Yan and Agent Chang are sent to steal America's most prized flight simulation software. After launching an audacious hack into the Royal Australian Aerobatic Squadron, they find themselves trapped by a hotshot NSA agent, Commander Kendrick. His plan? To destroy China's military ambition once and for all...through Inception.
Wang performs the Chinese heroes in Mandarin, bringing the world's most spoken language to the Belvoir Downstairs stage. "I've never seen a show that used Mandarin this much, and not just as a plot device but as something that's celebrated. So I decided to write one. And it's inclusive: if you're an English speaker the surtitles have a different and unique joke to what Mandaran speakers will hear."
As well as writing and performing, Wang has spent weeks in his garage building elaborate contraptions to replicate action movie heroics onstage. It's a combination of talents that might make him a perfect spy.
"I am worried that by writing this play I've ended up on a secret government list," Wang admits. "It's a comedy set in the 90s, but today everyone is talking about Chinese spying. If too many people hear about the show I might end up in a windowless room at ASIO. Which is a real paradox when it comes to marketing."
Alongside the comedy, Skyduck: A Chinese Spy Story offers a positive story of representation. Two other Asian-Australian performers, Aileen Huynh and Lap Nguyen, form the core creative team. This is one of the only all-Asian-Australian teams taking a Sydney stage this year.
"This is a show that comes from people who have grown up with Asian parents and that heritage, but also with Hollywood movies and pop music, and fuses those influences together in a way that feels utterly authentic to our younger generation," says director Huynh.
"That's what Skyduck does: it takes all the things we love and straps them to an exploding firework."
What: Skyduck - A Chinese Spy Story
When: July 11 - 20, 2019 | 7:45pm
Where: Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills