On Thursday 29th of June, I saw an original production called RICE written By Michele Lee on its World Premier Season at the Bille Brown Studio, Queensland Theatre.
This brilliant work is about two women of different cultures, backgrounds and values finding common ground.
At 28 years old, Nisha (Kristy Best ) is second in command of Goldenfields, an Australian Rice Company. She works long hours and eats at her desk waiting for a phone call that could cement a massive deal with the Indian government.
This phone call has turned into her life. She needs that phone to ring as it could make her career and there is nothing more important to her. It's who she is. It's what she has worked hard for.
Nisha is not the only one working late, Yvette (Hsiao-Ling Tang) the Chinese cleaner is there to clear out her take away and bins. It is a two-minute job or at least it should be.
At first, they see each other as coming from two far away worlds. One sees the other as a spoilt Indian Princess and the other as simply the garbage disposal.
Although one is young and zealous, the other experienced and a little beaten, they find themselves gradually discussing life's problems touching on the every day and delving into bigger issues.
Michele Lee has delivered a saturated script with life lessons and insights. The loudest being that people need people. Social economic status aside, differing cultures aside, we all need family and friends – whatever form that may take, we crave it because we need it. The people around us support and shape us.
I worked over a decade in the Fresh Produce industry as a National Key Account Manager so I saw a lot of my younger self in Nisha. Whether you are moving mass amounts of a dying product or selling rice to India you have to be a certain kind of person to succeed in a man's world. You tend to build a lot of walls.
Without spoiling the story completely this odd pairing go through their own trials and tribulations and come out gaining something that they least expected to find in each other - Friendship.
I would like to talk about Kristy Best (Nisha) and Hsiao-Ling Tang (Yvette). These two women are true talents. I sat there for 90 minutes completely captivated by their performance. They played off each other brilliantly. They made us believe every word they said and every character they played. They made me laugh, think and feel.
When I first saw the stage I thought 'Oh no' they have gone down the minimalistic road. That is dangerous because that means we are left to imagine the rest. Kristy and Hsiao performance drew us such a vivid picture in each scene that it filled the whole stage.
Go watch it. We are all Nisha, and Yvette. We are all part of multicultural Australia. Huge congratulations to the entire cast and crew. Very well done Queensland Theatre & Griffin Theatre Company.
Written by: Michele Lee Cast: Kristy Best, Hsiao-Ling Tang Director: Lee Lewis Set Designer: Renee Mulder Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright Composer & AV Designer: Wil Hughes
Tickets: 1800 355 528 or online at queenslandtheatre.com.au
NEW SOUTH WALES: 22 July – 26 Aug | Sydney: Griffin Theatre VICTORIA: 29 Aug - 2 Sep | Wodonga: HotHouse Theatre