ALIENS, KAMIKAZES, AND GURUS—OH MY!
Write an original monologue or short performance piece for a chance to be included in JANM’s October 10 “MARVELS & MONSTERS” SHOWCASE!
Throughout our nation’s history, Asians have been depicted as a set of distorted archetypes—the eternal foreigner, the sexless nerd, the brutal thug, the mystical wise man, the suicidal fanatic, the perpetual victim, the exotic seductress, and the conniving mastermind.
Now we’re looking for you to help shatter those images—with short original works of your own.
To commemorate the Japanese American National Museum’s West Coast premiere of MARVELS & MONSTERS: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, we’re looking for you to submit monologues or short performance works that rethink, subvert, deconstruct, or satirize the eight Asian pop-culture archetypes depicted in this exhibition, which draws from science fiction author William F. Wu’s extensive collection of comic books featuring Asian and Asian American characters—widely considered to be the largest in the world.
The archetypes are:
THE ALIEN: The perpetual foreigner; the enigmatic, inscrutable, unassimilable outsider in our midst. His customs are peculiar, his beliefs heathen, his agenda secret; never fully understood, and so never fully trusted, he is best regarded from a distance with a mix of curiosity, revulsion and fear.
THE BRAIN: The hyperintelligent mind without a body; sexless, heartless, friendless, a self-hating prodigy more comfortable interacting with machines than people. The math nerd and mad scientist, the otaku and outcast: He may rule the world, but will he ever get the girl?
THE BRUTE: The gangster, the thug, the minion, the martial arts master—the Brute may be a staggering physical specimen, but he is a nameless and voiceless one; his is not to wonder why—his is merely to do, and more often than not, die, without complaint or commemoration. Stoic in his suffering, silent in his rage, he is infinitely interchangeable, eternally anonymous, limited in language to gestures of deference and the vocabulary of violence.
THE GURU: The mystical wise one, whose inscrutable ways disguise the ancient, awesome truths he holds within his soul. Aged and wizened, he speaks in vague riddles and impenetrable allegories, appearing at first glance to be mad, senescent, or both. Yet to the right individual, the apprentice who is destined to inherit the Guru’s secrets, he is a gatekeeper to limitless power.
THE KAMIKAZE: Human missiles screaming a lingering cry of “Banzai!!!!” as they plummet toward enemy forces; insurgents wired with explosives, eager to martyr themselves to earn vengeance and a reward in Heaven; nameless soldiers scrambling over the corpses of their fellows only to be mowed down in turn. The Kamikaze has many faces, but all are mindlessly self-sacrificing, zealously loyal, feverishly patriotic, and utterly dismissive of the value of human life.
THE LOTUS BLOSSOM: The long-suffering wife, the left-behind lover; the hostage, the victim, the betrayed and forgotten. The Lotus Blossom is patient in her doomed love and passive to her predestined fate—which is to be abused, abased, exploited, and ultimately destroyed by or sacrificed for the man she loves and serves.
THE TEMPTRESS: The exotic seductress, who uses her feminine wiles and sexual prowess to enthrall and ultimately, betray—lush of body, false of heart, her mocking laughter and the sharp rake of her clawed fingers may well be the last thing you’ll ever experience.
THE MANIPULATOR: The evil controller, the shadowy mastermind, the megalomaniacal puppeteer seeking conquest through nefarious intrigue; brilliant, yes, but twisted by an insatiable lust for wealth, power, and control—hoping, perhaps, that world domination might fill the dark and hollow void of his soul.
Eight winning pieces will be selected by a jury that includes exhibition curator Jeff Yang; winning authors will receive widespread public acclaim and admiration, a $100 honorarium, and the opportunity to present their pieces as staged readings at JANM’s “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Short Works Showcase on October 10, 2013.
Unleash your creative potential. Submit your entries today!
Entries must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org as file attachments (.DOC, .TXT, or .RTF filetypes accepted; email above if alternate filetype is preferred). You will receive an emailed confirmation of your submission.
1. Entries must be received by no later than 5PM PT on September 15, 2013 to be considered. Winners will be notified by 5PM PT on September 18.
2. The competition is open to all individuals, amateur or professional.
3. Entries should be no more than five minutes long in total.
4. All types and genres of work that can be performed live are eligible, including musical and solo performance pieces. Any instruments, props, or media utilized in a presentation must be provided by and are the sole responsibility of the submitter.
5. Works will be judged on their originality and quality, as well as their complementarity with other selected works and their relevance to the ideas and images depicted in the exhibition.
6. Winning submitters will be responsible for casting, staging, and directing their own presentations. JANM will provide space for one dress rehearsal before the showcase.
7. Authors retain all rights to their submissions. However, by submitting, authors agree to present their work at JANM on October 10, and to allow presentations to be taped for possible inclusion in the Marvels & Monsters exhibition and in documentary and video materials related to the exhibition.