“What Does FOB Mean to You?”
FOB. F. O. B. Fresh off the boat. In this dynamic play, David Henry Hwang unpacks the meanings and politics of this derogatory term across the different experiences of three young Asian/Americans. The UCR student troupe Model Minority Theatre Collective brought FOB to the campus community in two performances: February 24th at 8pm in HUMN 411, and February 27th at 7pm at the Culver Center.
My name is Dr. Donatella Galella, and I am the faculty adviser to Model Minority. When students approached me for support to stage their first full production, I was immediately on board because I advocate for students who have been pushed to the margins. I believe that the theatre should tell stories that are rarely heard, and it should be a forum for political thinking, emotional healing, community building, and subsequent action. A groundbreaking event, FOB will likely be the first professional play by an Asian/American artist performed on campus. I asked the students of Model Minority why they formed such a group, and why they became involved with FOB. Here are their responses:
Scott Shima (Stage Manager)
I founded Model Minority back in 2012 in hopes of producing Asian American theatre for the UCR campus. Over the past 3 years we’ve grown from a small improv team to a collective of folks interested in producing real Asian American works. Producing FOB will be our first fully student produced production and we hope that other students across the UCR campus will be inspired to continue what we’ve accomplished after seeing our show.
Giselle Austria (Grace)
What drew me to this production is the idea of being a part of a story that I never hear get told. I think that every person has a beautiful story because of their identities, but some of these stories get fleshed out to the masses a lot more than others. The idea that I could be part of telling this particular story about Asian-American/Asian immigrant identities really mattered to me, and that’s why I became part of this production. Essentially, being part of something that catered to a part of my identity that rarely gets told was something that was very important to me.
Nick Carrillo (Dale)
Producing FOB is important because it is a story that is relatable to college students, especially in the API community. Navigating through life’s experiences is difficult because we are still discovering who we are in our identity. Should we stay close to our culture or should we embrace American culture? Sometimes it is hard to talk about these topics, but FOB is a production that initiates this important conversation.
Christian Shen (Scenic Designer)
For me, FOB has been about a self discovery. Through our process I’ve learned so much from our conversations and breaking down of the play about my own Asian Americanness and where we, as a people, stand in the grand scheme of society. To me this experience has been one of a
kind. Although I grew up in Asian suburbia there has been no conversation about race in my life. Seeing the perspectives of other Asians in non-Asian areas has been eye opening.
Oscar Ho (Director)
FOB is important due to it not only being from the mind of an inspiring and one of the only Chinese-American playwrights, but because of its relevance within the social sphere of racial and cultural relations. Though written in the 1980s, the themes of this play still ring true to our current modern society, showing that we all need to be a little more accepting of each other.
Kristen Asada (Assistant Stage Manager)
For me, FOB and productions like it are extremely important because they are the voice of the Asian American diaspora, the stories (in one way or another) of us, our parents, our grandparents. They are proof that we have stories worth telling, and especially with plays like FOB, written and produced by Asian Americans, they give people like us the opportunity to shine in roles specifically made for us, allowing for the representation of our communities and cultures in a way that is accessible to everyone.
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