'Passing', by Michele Gould, is an example of music's ability to transcend barriers, highlighting the struggles of citizenship, racial micro-aggressions and clashing values.
Rachel migrated to Australia from Thailand, with the dream of becoming a chart-topping pop singer. It's her chance meeting with a total stranger that changes both of their lives for the better.
“'Passing' is a love story. It's about this guy Mitch and this girl Rachel and they end up writing songs together to figure out who they are and how to live in Australia today, and how to be a part of the world,” Writer Michele Gould (who also plays Rachel in some performances) says. “As much as I love musical theatre, I couldn't see myself in any of these shows. I just didn't want to wait around for someone to write something that I could be in, that my friends could be in. . . So I decided to write one myself.”
And that's what she did. 'Passing' is set to a soundtrack filled with indie-pop, jazz and hip hop tunes, and is entirely dreamt up and created by Asian-Australian artists.
“Especially following the events of 2020, I saw a need for more diverse representation in theatre and I’m particularly proud to present an Asian-Australian story, created and told by an all Asian-Australian cast and crew,” Producer Amber Kitney says. “I am so proud of this team and so grateful for their vulnerability and generosity in the rehearsal room.”
“If you feel like you don’t quite belong, floating between cultures. . . We see you. We hope this show brings healing to those who need it.”
“Most of my high school life I spent distancing myself from Asians and having the mindset that I'm not like other Asians and therefore that's a good thing, even though it's sort of self-hating,” Jefferson Nguyen (Mitch in Cast A) adds.
Crystal Nguyen, who plays Kate in Cast B, says she thinks the show will do more than just present a story to audiences.
“I think that it will provide a sense of comfort and a universal language of music as well, to encourage you to keep going the path that is less travelled,” she explains.
“I think the audience can expect a lot of romance, comedy, and a family dynamic in tensions and stories that can resonate with you if you have a lot of cultures growing up and you have to navigate the world as someone who's just a little bit different.”
'Passing' plays The Gold Digger at Girls School 4-9 February.