A student at the time – and the only non-white in his acting class – Abalos finally saw a character who wasn’t a token but a fully developed, flawed human being.
Fast-forward to 2008, when Abalos appeared in the remount of Banana Boys, which has a scene dubbed “the battlefield of love.”
“It looks at the hierarchy of who can date whom, and how far down on the list Asian men are,” Abalos smiles. “I thought it contained enough material for a whole play.”
The result is Brown Balls, a look at stereotypes of Asian men in Western popular culture.
Its three characters – regular guys JP, Paul and Charles – even portray such archetypal figures as Fu Manchu, Bruce Lee and Charlie Chan to make a point.
“There’s a fascinating paradox for me in the image of the Asian male as a violent martial artist, yet he’s emasculated and submissive; Asian wo-men, on the other hand, are hyper-sexualized.
“In Brown Balls, I put the Asian male onstage, both literally and figuratively.”
Using lecture techniques, erotic art and a lot of comedy, the playwright and actor – whose previous work includes SummerWorks hit Remember Lolo – relies on his own experiences and that of his friends, though he believes that other minorities will identify with the material.
“I remember reading that the problem isn’t that stereotypes are untrue, but that they’re incomplete. I want this show to add more pieces to the puzzle, about both sexuality and masculinity.”...
Because the Filipino-Canadian artist uses satire and comedy to make his points, he knows some people will be offended.
“But I believe art can allow people to see the world differently. I want the audience to look beyond the surface and realize that they share common experiences with these guys.
“We’re bound by the human condition, and that’s what creates community from isolation.”Some people are bound by the human condition. Others, though, are bound by "human rights" idiocy, which isolates the politically incorrect and is a menace to the broader community.