PAWN by karmia chan cao - November 2010
Pawn was a student-written folk-rock musical presented by AATP and the Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project. Pawn follows a young Asian-Canadian soldier, Abraham Niu, stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan into the darkest night of his life. This groundbreaking play infused music from all over the world, from American folk music to Mongolian throat singing. Pawn unlocks an urgent discourse on the first decade of the 21st century through the keyhole of one family's tragic loss and the triumph of unrelenting hope. After performing at Stanford, Pawn went on to tour internationally across Asia.
When a life-threatening situation arises, Niu finds himself suspended in time in what is called the “pawn shop of time,” where he must make an impossible decision regarding heroism and death. The pawn shop itself is not death and it is not life, it is not even a place – rather, it is an elongated moment in our lives where we meet our “couriers,” or those who lead us through life, protecting us and serving as our sense of intuition. While there, Abraham is able to spend time with his mother, who shows him the dark secrets of her past while begging him not to take himself away from her. Having already lost her eldest son, Kai, during the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and after living through incredible hardships herself as a result of the racial discrimination she faced for being a Chinese immigrant, Abraham’s mother’s character provides a new definition of the word “terror.”
Written, composed, and directed by Karmia Chan Cao