Stage Door News

Toronto: Cahoots Theatre presents “Between a Wok and a Hot Pot” January 28-February 12, 2023

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Following Cahoots Theatre’s multiple-Dora Award-nominated world premiere of Three Ordinary Men and critically acclaimed co-production of our place, Canada’s first theatre company devoted to culturally diverse work announces its third premiere since Spring 2022 with playwright Amanda Lin’s and director Esther Jun’s Between a Wok and a Hot Pot. While preparing a traditional hot pot onstage, Mandy reminisces about when it wasn’t cool to be Asian, and delves into the complicated topics of identity and appropriation. The show is production managed by Shawn Henry and stage managed by Wei Qing Tan, with dramaturgy by Elyne Quan. Its design team consists of Echo Zhou, Olivia Wheeler, Emily Jung, and Sarah Yuen.

“Five years and a global pandemic ago I started writing a play to explore my Taiwanese-Canadian culture by way of food and art”, Lin reflects. “21-year-old Amanda could never have predicted how much this play would shift and change through the years with support from many incredible artists and humans. I’m so excited to finally share this story and this food with audiences in Toronto alongside my friends at Cahoots Theatre.” Director Jun shares a similar enthusiasm. “Discovering Hot Pot has been a heartfelt journey for me,” she says. “Exploring Asianness with different generations is humbling, joyous, cathartic and most importantly – delicious. It's a Ted Talk on Hot Pot 101 – informative, irreverent and hilarious. What's not to love?”

While embracing the sharing of food with attendees, company co-leaders Tanisha Taitt and Lisa Alves remain vigilant and conscious in the pandemic age and the reality of the new normal. Show-specific COVID protocols will be detailed on the show’s ticketing page when it goes on sale on January 11th. The production opens Tuesday January 31st at the BMO Incubator in The Theatre Centre.

Taitt, Cahoots’ artistic director, programmed Between a Wok and a Hot Pot near the start of her tenure as part of her desire to nurture new female playwrights of colour. An early draft of the play caught her attention with its perspectives and humour, combined with its serious contemplation of what it means to be “true” to one’s culture. “There are so many people in this country who have had to walk the line between a strong sense of their Canadian selves, and the cherished heritages of their parents and grandparents, “ she states. “It can be a tightrope act to figure out who you are amidst all of the voices.”

Lin performs double-duty in the production. Along with serving as writer, she portrays the central character of Mandy, starring alongside Kenzie Tsang. Mandy shares her experience as the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants navigating different worlds against the background of historical facts and popular culture. Pressure builds, and the show quickly begins crumbling around her. As it all comes crashing down, Mandy must come face to face with the question: What does it mean to be authentic, and does it even matter?

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Written by Amanda Lin | Directed by Esther Jun | Featuring Amanda Lin and Kenzie Tsang

The Incubator at The Theatre Centre - 1115 Queen St. West, Toronto

Saturday January 28th to Sunday February 12, 2023 | Opening Night: Tuesday January 31st @ 7:30 pm Showtimes: Tuesday-Saturday 7:30 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm

Tickets on sale Wednesday January 11th @ 9:00 am