Comedy at Refugee Week: Two Refugees and a Blonde
Legendary news anchor George Donikian covers a breaking news story: radio host Zoe Hunter has made some blunt challenges to the Minister for Immigration. She proclaims LIVE ON AIR that she would offer refugees her spare room. Two Iraqi refugees arrive on her doorstep. Chaos ensues as the mismatched trio struggle to share her townhouse. >>Two Refugees and a Blonde TRAILE.
Two Refugees and a Blonde are one of the headline acts performing at Amnesty Refugee Network’s Festival of Hope Gala on World Refugee Day, this Saturday 20 June.
A special benefit preview screening of Season One will occur on 24 June at Classic Cinemas Elsternwick Melbourne, with proceeds going to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The benefit will include live entertainment and a chance to meet the cast and director.
Osamah Sami is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian born in war-torn Iran to Iraqi parents. His memoir, Good Muslim Boy, has recently been published by Hardie Grant and is available in bookstores Australia wide and globally via Booktopia and Amazon. He is recognised as a ‘notable Australian Muslim’ by the Commonwealth.
“Refugees have been filling our news feeds. For the wrong reasons. But not for long — we hope. This series aims to remove the sombre stigma synonymous with refugees and to replace it with a dose of laughter, Iraqi-style hip-hop, and the occasional traditionally cooked sheep's head,” says Osamah, who plays the awkward but loveable Sami in the web series.
With a BA in Communications and Anthropology, Rain Fuller has worked as an actor on stage and screen in India, California, New Zealand as well as her home country of Australia. She recently starred in indie dramedy, Pretty Good Friends, which had a cinema and VOD release this year.
“If we took the time to hear refugees’ stories we might discover that they don't warrant the mistrust that is so often heaped on them. I had the opportunity to experience this first hand as I got to know refugees and asylum seekers - some who are still in community detention. They have become real friends of mine, and I am deeply saddened by their lack of rights,” says Rain, who plays Zoe Hunter, the ambitious radio host in the webseries.
“We’re hoping our crazy comedy might play some small part in unhinging the culture of fear around the world’s most vulnerable people.”
An acclaimed actor and playwright in his native home of Iran, Shahin Shafaei fled his country after having his work banned. He found his way to Australia in 2000 through Indonesia on a boat, and ended up spending 22 months at Curtin immigration detention centre in WA – 10 of those months in isolation.
Shahin continues his creative work in Australia and empowers others to share their own amazing stories through the arts, and has toured his own one-man show about his experience as an asylum seeker, which premiered at the Sydney Opera House. He is the director of Two Refugees and a Blonde.
“This show is all about giving a human face to Australian people who are trying to do good for refugees,” says Shahin.
“Because let’s face it; asylum seekers get a world of publicity, news headlines and front pages. But these decent human beings who have to swim against the current in order to validate refugees’ status, get nothing but the utter validation on their own puzzled status quo.”
Behrouz Harvasi plays Muncle, self-appointed wise man and Sami’s steadfast ‘uncle from mother’s side’. Together they create mayhem for the outspoken blonde Zoe Hunter, who responds by letting loose her own unique brand of crazy.
Behrouz is an award-winning comic actor and street theatre performer from Iran with strong Kurdish roots. Since arriving in Australia as a refugee in 2009, he has been active in promoting refugee rights. In 2012, he was the recipient of an Appreciation Award during Refugee Week. During his 15-month tenure in Manus Island, he formed a performing arts group for the asylum seekers to help them deal with the harsh conditions.
Zoe Hunter, an idealistic radio host who thinks she’s worldly challenges a prominent politician: why isn’t Australia embracing refugees? When he turns the question back at her, Zoe proclaims she would gladly take refugees into her own home. Live on Air.
Her listeners and media applaud her and the “Wake Up with Zoe” Facebook page goes wild with thousands of new likes. Just as she begins to bask in the limelight, the doorbell rings. Sami and Muncle, two Iraqi asylum seekers, arrive on her doorstep, suitcases in hand: “Which room is ours?!”
Chaos ensues as the mismatched trio struggle to share Zoe’s boho townhouse, with hazardous consequences.
About the ASRC
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) protects and upholds the human rights, wellbeing and dignity of asylum seekers. They are the largest provider of aid, advocacy and health services for asylum seekers in Australia. Most importantly, at times of despair and hopelessness, they offer comfort, friendship, hope and respite.
They are an independent agency. They don't receive any direct program funding from the Australian Government and instead rely on community donations and philanthropy for 95 per cent of their funding.