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Half Magic

Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Asian Arts Initiative


Half Magic is the autobiographical story of a biracial white/South Asian child raised on stories of white heroes. Joseph Ahmed uses physical theater, storytelling, and circus techniques to explore the childhood narratives and social structures that led him to self-identify as white for most of his young life. Animorphs, Ender's Game, and Harry Potter form the cornerstones of his identity until a loss in the family forces him to reconsider everything. What place is left in his Bengali heritage after a lifetime of white protagonists?

Created and performed by Joseph Ahmed

Directed by Mieke D

Sound Design by Damien Figueras

Prop Design by Sara Outing


First produced at Asian Arts Initiative for the New Asian Futurisms Closing Reception in December 2019.


Developed through Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists Mini-Residency Program 2019-2021; filmed work-in-progress showing in July 2020.

Livestreamed as a workshop showing in the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival November 2020.

Pre-recorded presentation at Come to PAPA in June 2021.

HM 7 stack.jpg

Half Magic's 2021 filming was featured as an Exhibition Screener as part of the First Annual Mixed Asian Media Fest in September, 2021. Joseph also appeared as a speaker at the festival, talking with Ariel Estrada of Leviathan Lab in NYC about the creation of the performance, mixed Asian identity, and more.

Read Ani Gavino's review in thINKingDANCE of Half Magic at PAAFF 2020:
"The Superpower of a Biracial Child"

Half Magic Trailer

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