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Mom, Dad, I'm Living With a White Girl

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Canadian playwright Marty Chan's "Mom, Dad, I'm Living With a White Girl" might better be seen as a work in progress. Certainly, Chan introduces clever ideas into this over-the-top piece about interracial, intergenerational problems. But confusion reigns as the story leaps between a real and a fantasy world.

The first story, as the title indicates, deals with Mark Gee, a Chinese-Canadian youth whose dreams are fiercely opposed to those of his parents: He wants to be a mechanic rather than continue the family business of acupuncture. Worse yet, Mark's white girlfriend, Sally, is not the "nice Chinese girl" his mother would like him to marry. "You're killing your mother," says his father, laying on the guilt with a trowel. Meanwhile, Sally pushes the wavering Mark to tell his parents they are living together.

So far, the story is all too familiar, whatever its ethnic identity. But Chan turns the action upside down by introducing a second tale -- a spoof of the Chinese foreign intrigue/action film. Yellow Claw, a dragon-lady type, plans world domination, but is blocked by Agent Banana and his white girlfriend. A clever idea, but Chan never succeeds in integrating the stories, despite the Chinese gong (ably wielded by percussionist Shigeko Suga) that indicates a change of world. The tenuous connection is that Sally, a script reader, is at home reading that very script. If this is meant to be a Walter Mitty tale, with the hero's fantasies of greatness, it does not succeed.

Yet there are amusing swipes at narrow-minded parents and genre films, to name two of Chan's targets, and all four players (Henry Yuk, Bea Soong, Mary Kickel, and Pun Bandhu), under Ron Nakahara's direction, give lively performances -- particularly Kickel, who plays the feisty white girl.

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