Two old besties, Merlynn and Joe, find themselves in the midst of a traditional Chinese funeral for their grandfathers in Australia. As they spend the night in vigil, performing the traditional rites of mourning families, they clash over the preservation of culture and tradition. Joe wants no part of it, while Merlynn tries to preserve her Singaporean/Chinese self in a new land. Their argument reaches a boiling point when Joe orders McDonald’s and burns it on the funereal flame, leading to their arrest by the black and white spirits that escort the souls of the dead to the Underworld. Brought before the Judge of the underworld, they are sentenced to death by beheading, but their salvation comes in the form of the Goddess of Mercy – Guan Yin, who helps them confront their fears and reconcile their friendship and their relationships to their pasts.
Co-created by Joe Paradise Lui and Merlynn Tong, with a strong team of creatives representing the Asian diaspora, LEGENDS is a powerful and deeply personal examination of the Asian cultural experience and the enduring power of friendship. It showcases the hard-to-articulate blue-collar religiosity that doesn’t exist in Australia and challenges the notion of Chinese culture as sacred.