“Fractured Mosaics” Synopsis

We Meet at the Water
Sokunthary Svay, writer
Liliya Ugay, composer

It is the year 2050 and climate change has caused the seas to rise. Two Cambodian women speak to each other from across the world through the water. Poeuv is in New York City on the Hudson River while her mother; Nakry is in the seaside town of Kep(-sur-Mer) in Cambodia. A tsunami has been forecast for southern Cambodia and Thailand. Most of the beach and nearby businesses will be underwater before morning. Unable to emigrate to the United States, Nakry has decided to spend her last moments comforting her daughter through messages via the water. Poeuv, who is pregnant with a daughter, is wracked with guilt and tries to reconcile her mother’s impending death with the new life she has created. 


Blue Falls Bridge
Xu Xi, writer
Shirish Korde, composer
Parker, an immigrant from China, reminisces on his life in the Midwest, where he settled with his wife, Annie. She has been dead for several years, but today is her birthday. He calls forth her ghost, and they discuss his obsession with building a chicken farm, and a bridge across the Blue Falls that are right next to their house. Parker built the bridge as an attempt to get the community to accept them. But it has been the site of many suicides. Annie had wanted it to be destroyed, but Parker refused. 


Music Box Bird
Cerise Lim Jacobs, writer
Benjamin Kono, composer
Whydah (an African songbird) hears Iguisu (the Japanese bush warbler) singing a sad song. He flies through the open window and sees a box with a small rice paper window. Iguisu is inside the box which her owner constructed to force her to sing out of season, the way one forces bulbs to bloom. Whydah tells her that she should protest her inhumane treatment. Uguisu is afraid that she will be punished. Whydah tells her that he was captured in Africa, shipped to the US – like her – refused to sing for his owner and was thrown out after being starved. But he survived and thrives in his freedom. He pecks out her rice paper window. An Asian woman steps into the room. She lifts the box and flies away. 


Banana Ketchup
Deepali Gupta, writer
Nilo Alcala, composer
Eleanor and Simon meet in a café for the first time after Eleanor gave him up at birth to an American family. Simon is now a medical student. They make small talk until their food arrives. Eleanor takes out a bottle of banana ketchup and hands it to him. She tells her son that she made it especially for him. It’s the Filipino signature food that they put on everything. Simon tells her how little he knows about his heritage and how alien he felt growing up. At the end of lunch, they say goodbye, hoping to meet again. 


Monique Truong, writer
Randall Eng, composer

Dr. Sing is now in his eighties and recovering from a stroke. As he walks down Main Street in Norfolk, Virginia, with his best friend, Rich, and his daughter, Rose, he reminisces about the time when he was a young man trying to make his way in America. Rich and Sing relive their youthful experiences at the Oriental, a Chinese restaurant — the way they handled the customers who called out “Chop, chop, Chinaman” to get their attention, and their route to upward mobility through hard work and education.