Who wouldn’t love to listen to stories while enjoying some tasty food?! Or even more interestingly, what if the stories ARE about that food? These are exactly the reasons I was drawn to Double Delicious, which was shown at Abbotsford Convent during the Asia TOPA festival 2020.
Five public figures, over 100 minutes, each with a story to tell about them coming to, or growing up in, Australia as an immigrant, and each with that one special dish to share that they deemed essential to their being. I was intrigued by the idea, and will probably steal it if I ever host a dinner party. Indeed, all our identities are integrated with the meals we shared while growing up, which could be as simple as a warm stew filled up with cheap canned food, or rice with nothing but pork fat.
The stories are fascinating, portrayed in a mix of monologue, hiphop, contemporary dance, or grandmotherly chat. Admittedly, as my friend and I commented in the podcast, the stories could have been more interesting and impactful if, instead of seeing snapshot of five stories, we had more insight and depth into one or two particular experiences.
Nevertheless, as an audience member, I loved getting to know their personal journeys, and was excited to enjoy the dishes. I, for one, didn’t know anything about chole at all before the show, and now I know it’s not only extremely tasty, but a dish of great significance in Indian culture.
It was interesting to see the audience was predominantly white Australians, and I wondered how they experienced the stories. Would they relate and like it? What would they think of the food? How differently would their experience be to my own as a Chinese migrant to Australia?
I asked my white Australian companion for their “raw” (and uncensored) feedback. I might not agree with all his opinions or the tone, but I share here to show the continuum of experiences between some migrants and white Australian audiences.
谁会不喜欢一边品尝美食一边听故事呢？！更何况，还是关于食物的故事。这恰恰是2020年 Asia TOPA 节期间在 Abbotsford 修道院展出的《双倍美味》吸引我前往观看的原因。
五个公众人物， 100分钟演出时长，每个人都有一个故事来分享，讲述他们作为移民来到澳大利亚或在澳大利亚长大的故事。 同时每个人还展示烹调一道对他们来说意义非凡的菜品。我觉得这个主题非常新颖。如果我有机会举办晚宴，一定会盗用。确实，我们的身份认同，与我们儿时分享的饭菜无法分割，有时甚至只是一顿用罐头食品填充的炖菜，或者简简单单的猪油饭。
Valerie Berry Storyteller
Elizabeth Chong Storyteller
Heather Jeong Storyteller
Benjamin Law Storyteller
Raghav Handa Storyteller
Nicholas Ng Musician