<b>Pawn</b> A powerful, rock musical and bares the soul of a generation on stage while bringing a new perspective on the last decade in our post 9/11 world.
Set in the present <b><em>Pawn</b></em> follows an 1st generation Asian-Canadian family, as they wait for their son, Abraham, to return from his second Afghanistan War deployment.
On his last night in Afghanistan, Abe tries to save the lives of a young Afghan family. As the mortars fall from the sky, he is thrust into a dimension called the Pawn Shop where he must make the decision to live and go home to his family waiting for him or sacrifice his life to save the Afghan family.
Writer, director and composer, <b>Karmia Chan Cao</b> weaves the themes about the childhood idolization of war, heroism, the Millennials narrative of what 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, the war on terror mean to their lives. These themes are seemlessly explored as Abe learns about his parents past during the violent years towards Asians in efforts to gentrifry Vancouver's Chinatown.
The play gives us a rare glimpse on impact that seems to be rarely discussed. The children of 9/11 who are now in college have their experiences depicted in not only the script and music but every aspect of the production. The actors and crew of <b><em>Pawn</b></em> are all members of the Millennial generation. This culturally diverse cast and crew hail hometowns from every region of the US and are studying an array of non-theatre programs (such as Chemical Engineering, Symbolic Systems, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity) at Stanford University. The music is dynamic and unpredictable, notable pieces include "Knucklespeak", "Friendly Fires" and "Age of Grace." The shocking piece "Child" sung by Ma (Abraham's mother) is hauntingly beautiful. The design is colorful and maintains the theme of hope
This is a pleasant surprise when reading the bios of the cast, because they hold their own with a delivery that of a seasoned actor. The chemistry and love between family members (<b>Alex Kaneko, Julian Kusnadi, and Alicia Triana</b>) is layered and deep. This rock music is dynamic and unpredictable. <b> Sarah Guerrero</b> (Ma) is a tour de force its hard to imagine she is not an actress -- she is an International Relations major at Stanford University-- as she gives a incredible rich and layered performance that leaves no dry eyes in the audience.
<b><em>Pawn</b></em> is definitely a must-see play of the New York International Fringe Festival this year. See it at the Ellen Stewart Theatre @ LaMama Etc THUR 18 @ 8:30, SUN 21 @ 5:30, WED 24 @ 4:30 and SUN 28 @ 3
Listen to my interview with Writer/Director/Composer Karmia Chan Cao on the Artsy Fartsy Show. Original aired date: Aug. 16th at 2pm.