Debut director explores cultural and identity



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Grace director Nikita Tu-Bryant (middle) says the production explores a woman's grapple to different values ​​from different parts of her life. The production also features Chye-Ling Huang (left) and Marianne Infante.

HAYDEN WEAL / SUPPLIED

Grace director Nikita Tu-Bryant (middle) says the production explores a woman's grapple to different values ​​from different parts of her life. The production also features Chye-Ling Huang (left) and Marianne Infante.

Nikita Tu-Bryant's first foray into theater directing started with a song.

Tide Waits for No Man: Grace comes five years after the Wellington based musician wrote and recorded a song about the feelings she experienced following the death of a family member.

Tu-Bryant says the semi-autobiographical story explores the cultural patriarchy and follows a Taiwanese-Kiwi, Grace, who grapples with her Yè-Ye's (Mandarin for grandfather) teachings in the face of her life in modern New Zealand.

While the story draws distinctively Asian references, he believes that he will strike a chord with a much wider audience.

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People naturally discovered and adopted different values ​​as their social circles expanded outside the family environment. Reconciling often conflicting sets of beliefs was not unique to one set of people, Tu-Bryant said.

"It's a story about how we marry who we've become with where we've come from."

Tu-Bryant was relieved to be getting the production underway after years of writing and conceptualizing the latest iteration of the story.

"Considering the time between the death of my family member and now … with my music projects, I'm a real doer – I go out and do it straight away.

"I turned 30 this year and I have been writing for four years. I knew that every year was passed, I'd get more anxious. [Like the title says] 'Tide waits for no man,' I have to be ready or not – you can't be afraid. '

Working with the Auckland-based Proudly Asian Theater, the production is performed at Bats Theater in Wellington in December.

It is the first of what he hopes will be five instalments chronicling the grandfather's personality even though the experience of different members of his family.

The production of "non-verbal" and will rely on choreographed movement, and shadow and object sets to a backdrop of Tu-Bryant's music.

She does not want language to be a barrier for her audience. She wanted people who like her mother, to be able to understand the story.

Tu-Bryant will be performing alongside the Proudly Asian Theater co-founders Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante.

* Tide Waits for No Man: Grace will be performed at Bats Theater, 1 Kent Tce, Mount Victoria, Wellington, from December 4-8. Tickets are available from the Bats website.

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