“Chinese Take Away” performed as a solo by Anna Yen, was very successful at using images, symbols and actions to lead the audience in a sequence to understand her life story. In this solo performance, there were many different components of Anna’s life that were conveyed through symbols, through images and physical theatre. Symbols such as the Silk River, which signified her past and how she ended up accepting it, the sound of a Gong which only chimed when ever sexual abuse occurred in the story and also her use of physical theatre to convey different situations her grandmother, mother and herself went through.Order now
Throughout Anna’s story she uses a long blue silk cloth, which is laid across that stage like a river. As the story progresses the silk river becomes more and more symbolic to Anna’s life story. Anna’s mum tried to commit suicide twice in this play. She uses the silk river to try and end her life by lying on it and rolling around symbolising that she is attempting to drown herself. In this scene she is fully dressed and does not succeed in her attempt. The second time towards the end of the story she tries once again, but this time she naked.
She swims in the silk river nude because there is nothing separating her from her past. Anna rolls around in the river and then slowly wraps the cloth around her neck like a knoose to convey that fact that she has hung herself in a knoose of water. The river is very symbolic in conveying Anna’s past. Another scene which is very significant in conveying Anna’s story by using the silk river, is when she beats and bashes the cloth on the floor. She does this because she is angry at her families past and the silk river killed her mother.
In the end Anna came to the point where she had to accept her past. She did this by draping the cloth over her naked body to convey that she is accepting her childhood past and is not judgmental of it. There is the symbolic sound of a gong which is heard through out the play. The sound of a gong symbolises that something important has happened, and in the case of this play it chimes when ever sexual abuse occurs in the story. There are many scenes where the gong is heard.
There is one scene where Anna says, “Grandmother won’t tell you this, but the reason grandmother married grandfather, is the same reason your mother married your father. ” After that line, the sound of a gong is heard. This is because Anna’s grandmother was sold and forced to marry and had 10 children. The Anna’s mother was sent to Australia on a student visa thinking that she was going to study but instead she was sent for an arranged marriage and was sexually abused by the husband.
Another scene where the gong is heard and is very significant to the story is when Anna is acting as her father and is telling the story of when her mother came to Australia. He explains that he was expecting the older sister but she was not able to move over to Australia, so instead the parents sent over the younger sister (Anna’s mum) on a student visa. The younger sister did not know that she was being sent over to Australia to be married. The gong is chimed when Anna’s father explains that he did not rape her and that she is no virgin.
This shows that Anna’s mum was forced to be married just like her grandmother. Anna’s use of physical theatre in this play is very symbolic of the situations that she, her mother and her grand mother went through. When ever male dominance is showed in the story the sound of a rooster is heard. A scene where the sound of the rooster is heard is when Anna’s dad tells his story. He tells the audience that Anna’s mum had 4 children. He sent them to school, gave them cloths, fed them, he did everything good. The rooster is heard in this scene because Anna’s dad shows his dominance over Anna’s mum and his children.