Next month’s Sydney Fringe Festival will feature a show titled ‘Aussies of the Magic Mic and Adobo Kind’, a series of vignettes on what it’s like to be a Filipino-Australian. Talented producer Rosary Coloma shares how the idea came about.

The words ‘Magic Mic’ and ‘adobo’ are music to the ears of Filipinos. They both conjure images of birthday parties, weddings and other family get-togethers where everyone’s having a good time in a way that is distinctly pinoy.

A ‘Magic Mic’, which refers to the brand name of a popular karaoke machine, is a must-have item in a Filipino household. So much so that a Filipino house without a Magic Mic is – seriously - not a home.

The ‘adobo’ is a Filipino dish that can be simply described as chicken or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. But this completely misses the real story: how the meat is marinated overnight before it is slowly cooked to perfection using an age-old recipe combining vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper corns, oil, soy sauce and, sometimes, with peanuts or, in some recipes, pineapple.

More importantly, it is not just the cooking of the adobo but who is doing the cooking. The dish is often prepared by the mother, the father, a grandparent or a beloved auntie. 

In short, it is not just about the dish but the Filipino ritual around when, how and why adobo is being served that makes it one of the Philippines’ most loved dishes.

So imagine a show that hopes to explore the cultural identity of Filipino-Australians. The show, titled ‘Aussies of the Magic Mic and Adobo Kind’, is the brainchild of talented Sydney-based producer, Rosary Coloma. The Australian Filipina catches up with her to find out more.

AF: How did the show come about?

In a nutshell, "Aussies of the Magic Mic and Adobo Kind" is a production about the multi-layered nature of national and cultural identity. More specifically, it is about the many layers of identifying oneself as Filipino-Australian. 

I guess the idea sparked during a time when my "contemporaries" and I had reached a phase where we wanted to get more in touch with the roots (or culture) of our ethnicity. I had been toying with the idea for this show ever since I came back from a trip to the Philippines over a year ago and had talked (or rather, laughed) about it a few times with various creative friends of Filipino ethnicity (Michelle Roldan was probably the first person), normally over drinks at the pub! The pub sessions developed into a real project when Erica Enriquez and I eventually decided to go ahead and write and produce it.

I came up with the title on the spot, spurred on by the adrenalin of having to meet a deadline from the Sydney Fringe Festival, like a typical creative type.

AF: Who is now involved in the project and what do they do? 

My business (Coloma Projects) is producing it with Erica Enriquez. It is also written and directed by Erica and myself. The main cast are a talented group of Filipino-Australian actors, namely Felino Dolloso, Valerie Berry, Kim Shazell, Ala Paredes, Jemwel Danao, Daniella Serret, Sheena Reyes, and a support cast of other talented Australian actors including John Buencamino and Kenneth Moraleda. I’ll be doing cameo appearances as well.

AF: What are you hoping to achieve from this project?

On one level it is an opportunity to showcase Filipino-Australian talent to the wider Australian Arts community. On another level it is a proud (and hilarious) celebration of multiculturalism in Australia and a way of inspiring empathy and understanding of other cultures in our multicultural society.


Show details

Aussies of the Magic Mic and Adobo Kind
Cultural Centre of the Italian Forum (piazza level)
23 Norton Street, Leichhardt.
September 29 & 30, October 1 @6:30pm

For tickets, call the Sydney Fringe Festival Box Office 9560 9167

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