At the beginning of this evening of seven Asian dramas, a Japanese man wearing a traditional haori jacket, Hiroshi Nakatsuji, welcomes the audience with a mihi, in well-accented te reo.
Maori spoken in Asian theatre? Ah yes, but this is New Zealand Asian theatre, written by smart young urbanites, with a preoccupation many New Zealanders can relate to: the loneliness of the long distance migrant, particularly migrants' children.
Thus the daughter in Renee Liang's poignant, well-crafted autobiographical Mask strives to bridge the cultural as well as generational gap separating her from her patriarchal father, and the young Indian man in Midnight, State Highway 01 by Mukilan Thangamani is driven to despair, in part because of parental expectations.
In contrast, all sympathy in Ying Ly's The Loyal Customer is with the irascible foodcourt chef, excellently played by Gary Young under an authentically flickering fluorescent light, and not with his absent daughter.
In the evening's quietly passionate highlight, The Mooncake and the Kumara, superbly written by cousins Mei-Lin Te-Puea Hansen and Kiel McNaughton, Chao finds writing letters home only brings pain, reminding him of how many memories he has lost of his wife. The complexities of self-exile from loved ones are treated with remarkable depth for a short play.
The malevolent chorus in the nightmarish Intrusions, by Misa Tupou, effectively uses stylised movement to show the psychological consequences of racism - a deliberately uncomfortable watch.
But the plays also offer chance encounters as hope, and one can be at home even with cultural dislocation: in Davina Goh's engaging character sketch Citizen 3, a young man with a globalised upbringing (Leand Macadaan, whom the role appears to fit like a glove), has the last, defiant lines of the night: "I have no idea where I come from, and I'd like to keep it that way."
What: Asian Tales: Native Alienz.
Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre.
When: Until February 21.