In Cantonese it means family. For playwright Minh Ly it means a coming out story of sorts, as Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre presents a staged reading of his new play Ga Ting.
“I am not out to my parents,” admits playwright Ly (photo right). “They do know about the play, my sister told them but I have not talked to them about the play nor have they asked. I suspect my parents know but I have never officially come out to them and they’ve never asked.”
While we all deal with coming out in our own way, Ly is doing his very publicly (at least to his parents) through his new play that tells the story of two parents struggling to come to terms with their son’s sexuality in the wake of his death due to a drug overdose.
“Writing this play is part of my own coming out process,” says Ly. “I was going to come out to my parents via a letter, but I talked to my brother about it and he didn’t think it was such a good idea. A good part of that letter are parts of this play.”
Taking place over the course of a dinner after the funeral, the story is told from the boyfriend’s perspective although both the boyfriend and the parents piece together information from each other to figure out who Kevin is.
But more than just a coming out story, Ly is also bringing the issue of homosexuality within the Chinese culture to the forefront, a topic he says that is still very much off-limits at times.
“In Chinese culture and other ethnicities being gay is even more taboo than other communities and it’s important to get a story like this out to show that we exist. Ideally I would love for some people of color to see the play to open up a dialogue on sexuality,” says Ly. “The play is also about communication and getting to know your children and children sharing themselves with their parents, not just the gay aspect.”
Ga Ting received its first staged reading with Screaming Weenie (now The Frank Theatre Company) in 2010. This current reading is the next step in the development process that will ultimately see the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and The Frank Theatre Company jointly producing a full staged version in 2014.
Ga Ting – a staged reading
Thursday, May 24, 2013 at 7:30pm
Richmond Cultural Centre Performance Hall, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond