During years of cultural identity crisis – “What does it mean to be CBC*?” – I read many Asian-American and Asian-Canadian titles. A profoundly moving novel that spoke to me and most assuaged my anxiety over having divergent thoughts from the rest of the population was Terry Woo’s Banana Boys.
Though it is a bit of a guys’ novel with an ensemble cast of five guys, it resonated so well because it was set in Toronto and Waterloo the same years I was there. Their banana**/CBC set was much like the crowd I ran with in Toronto in the ’90s – we were trendy, fabulous, confused, invincible, and desperately grasping at those superficial Chinese symbols (think The Fast and the Furious).
So I noticed and longed while the stage production came to Toronto in 2005. I was in town even and couldn’t make it.
Two years later, it’s arriving at the Firehall Arts Centre, with a scheduled run from February 23 to March 17. I’m so there.
* CBC = Canadian-born Chinese
** banana = derogatory (or not) term for an Asian person who is heavily western-influenced