Meet “THE CHINESE LADY” playwright, Lloyd SUH

Suh’s play “THE CHINESE LADY” is the most recent of many Ma-Yi Productions spanning over 20 Years 

TICKETS FOR “THE CHINESE LADY” 11/7 thru 11/18

Lloyd Suh was one of the founding members of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He would go on to be co-director of the Lab with Qui Ngyuen, the two of them presiding over the expansion of the Lab’s membership to nearly double its original size. 


Ma-Yi Theater produced Lloyd’s play “The Children of Vonderly,” in 1998. It was his first professional production in New York City. Other productions soon followed: “American Hwangap,” co-produced with The Play Company, “Jesus in India,” and “The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!” in partnership with the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis.

“The Chinese Lady,” was commissioned by Ma-Yi Theater, and co-produced with Barrington Stage Company. It opened in the Berkshires this summer, receiving rave reviews from local critics.

“I’ve gotten to know Lloyd’s writing over the years, and this play is unlike any he’s written before,” says Ma-Yi Theater’s Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña of “The Chinese Lady.” “This is a deeply felt and beautifully imagined telling of the life of a 14-year old Chinese girl, arriving in America in 1834, to be put on display as she performed her ethnicity. It says a lot about who we are as country.”

Tickets for “THE CHINESE LADY” 11/7 thru 11/18
BUY A TICKET TO “THE CHINESE LADY”
AND GET INTO MOCA FREE

FREE admission to the museum during the entire month of November with your ticket stub 
The Chinese Lady plays in repertory with “Sesar” by Orlando Pabotoy and tickets are now available for both performances at Theatre Row:

Tickets for “THE CHINESE LADY” 11/7 thru 11/18

Get Tickets for “SESAR” 10/20 thru 11/1, 2018

October Lab Member Updates, Upcoming Performances

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwright
Leah Nanako Winkler

Labbie, Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Hot Asian Doctor Husband”  at Theater MU

Theater Mu’s 2018/2019 season will include the world premiere of  Labbie, Leah Nanako Winkler’s Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Aug. 16-Sept. 1 2019), at Mixed Blood Theatre. The comedy is about a biracial woman in pursuit of a hot Asian doctor husband after the sudden death of her Japanese father leaves her questioning her identity. Randy Reyes will direct.

READ MORE HERE

©2018 RICHRYAN

Above from the play “Two Mile Hollow” by Leah Nanako Winkler at Theater Mu in 2018. (Photo by Rich Ryan)


 

 Labbie Diana Oh’s ” THE INFINITE LOVE PARTY” at the Bushwick Starr January 2009.

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Diana Oh

“The Infinite Love Party”  January 11 – February 2, 2019 more HERE

 Also, in February, Ma-Yi Theater Company teams with the Bushwick Starr as Co-Producer of SUICIDE FOREST, by Kristine Haruna Lee and directed by Aya Ogawa.

MORE HERE

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Labbie Mia Chung’s  NYC professional debut “CATCH AS CATCH CAN”

opens at the New Ohio Theater October 22nd through November 17.

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Mia Chung

The Phelans and the Lavecchias grew up together in working class New England, weathering good times and bad. But Tim Phelan’s homecoming this winter sets off a spiraling crisis that strains their hold on each other—and themselves. In Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can, six characters are brought to life by three actors playing across gender and generation, capturing father/daughter and mother/son in a family drama that doubles as a theatrical tour de force.. directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. READ MORE

Chung’s plays include You for Me for You and This Exquisite CorpseYou for Me for You had a U.K. premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, a US premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC, and multiple productions around the country,
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Labbie Mrinalini Kamath is connecting with Seattle and finding inspiration

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Mrinalini Kamath

ROXANNE RAY OCTOBER 8, 2018 , INTERNATIONAL EXAMINER

Labbie, Mrinalini Kamath has been the Ma-Yi Theater/ University of Washington Mellon Creative fellow, and that has allowed her to present work at the University of Washington in both January and June of this year. “The Mellon Creative fellowship that Todd London at the UW School of Drama began with Ralph Pena at the Ma-Yi Theater Company, with the blessings of the Mellon Foundation, was my first encounter with theater in Seattle,” she said.

“I was hooked after my first playwriting class,” Kamath said. “The reaction of a live audience was unlike anything I had ever experienced writing fiction.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 


 

PLAYWRIGHTS FOUNDATION/ BAY AREA PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL INCLUDES TWO LAB MEMBERS:

MADHURI SHEKAR AND DUSTIN CHINN

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member

Madhuri Shekar

Dustin Chinn

Dustin Chinn

HOUSE OF JOY BY MADHURI SHEKAR

seduction, skullduggery and swordplay in a mythic 17th Century rebellion by the female bodyguards of an Imperial Harem.

COLONIALISM IS TERRIBLE, BUT PHO IS DELICIOUS BY DUSTIN CHINN

an irreverent satire on colonialism as seen through the transformation of a bowl of noodle soup over two centuries.

 


 

THE LARK NAMES  LAB MEMBER LAUREN YEE AS NEW RITA GOLDBERG PLAYWRIGHTS’ WORKSHOP FELLOW

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ALONG WITH NATHAN ALAN DAVIS, BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS, SYLVIA KHOURY, LAUREN YEE, AND ARTHUR KOPIT AS NEW RITA GOLDBERG PLAYWRIGHTS’ WORKSHOP FELLOWS

The Lark announced five New York City-based playwrights, have been named as the 2018-19 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows. The group spans a wide range of backgrounds and professional experiences and will meet regularly throughout the year to develop new plays.

Labbie, Lauren Yee is among them. Yee recently won the Horton Foote Prize for her play Cambodian Rock Band, developed through The Lark’s Roundtable program.

“The Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop is designed to be a process where a dynamic group of contemporary playwrights can engage with each other around brand new, raw, and challenging work,” said THE CHINESE LADY playwright Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark and a Member and co-founder of THE MA-YI WRITERS LAB. “This cohort of five writers represents such an eclectic range of styles and sensibilities, and yet all five have proven themselves to be rigorous in telling urgent, vital stories in unexpected and imaginative ways. We’re thrilled that they’ll be sharing space with each other and with The Lark over the course of the season.”

Plays substantially developed through the Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop include Teenage Dick by Ma-Yi Lab Co-Director, Mike Lew (The Public Theater).


 

PANASIAN REPERTORY THEATRE presents Labbie Damon Chua‘s “THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE”

42nd Milestone Season | Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director
Presents a Holiday Special for Families and Children

MORE HERE

Damon Chua

Damon Chua

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 Abingdon Theater presents “Hatefuck”

by Lab Member and Ma-Yi Mellon Reisident Playwright, Rehana Lew Mirza 

Abingdon Theatre Co, WP Theatre & Colt Coeur Partner to Present New Play By Rehana Lew Mirza

REHANA LEW MIRZA

The world premiere of the 2017 Kilroys List play opens in March 2019: Abingdon Theater Company will team up with WP Theater and Colt Coeur to present  HATEFUCK by Rehana Lew Mirza and directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt. The four-week limited engagement runs March 3 – 31, 2019 at WP Theater

In this bracingly insightful new play, passions ignite when Layla, an intense literature professor, accuses Imran, a brashly iconoclastic novelist, of trading in anti-Muslim stereotypes. But as their attraction grows into something more, they discover that good sex doesn’t always make good bedfellows. Conflicting cultural identities collide in this thornily clever antidote to a “meet-cute” romance.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

 

 

MA-YI WRITERS LAB MEMBERS SUSAN STANTON, MIKE LEW AND LAUREN YEE JOIN NEW DRAMATISTS’ RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHTS

Three of our Ma-YI Writers Lab Members joined New Dramatists along with four more playwrights to be in residence through the year 2025. These writers were selected by a seven-person committee of New Dramatists current residents, alumni, and outside theatre professionals from 478 applicants after undergoing a highly competitive nine month review and analysis. They include Julian Christopher, Sarah Gancher, Mike Lew, Vickie Ramirez, Tammy Ryan, Susan Soon He Stanton, and Lauren Yee.

Mike Lew

www.mikelew.com

Mike Lew is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He previously served as New Dramatists admin associate. Mike is married to fellow New Dramatists Resident playwright Rehana Lew Mirza  and together they hold a Mellon National Playwrights Residency at Ma-Yi. His play Teenage Dick was produced by Ma-Yi in association with The Public Theater this summer.

Susan Soon He Stanton 

Susan Soon He Stanton’s recent plays include we, the invisibles (Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival) Today Is My Birthday (Page 73) and Solstice Party! (Live Source). She is a two-time Sundance Theatre Lab Resident Playwright, and she was awarded the inaugural Venturous Playwright Fellowship and Van Lier Fellowship at The Lark and the Leah Ryan FEWW Prize. She’s also a staff writer for HBO’s ‘Succession’.       READ MORE at New Dramatists

Lauren Yee

https://laurenyee.com/
This past season, Lauren Yee premiered Cambodian Rock Band (music by Dengue Fever) at South Coast Rep and The Great Leap at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, and Atlantic Theatre. Recent honors: Kesselring Prize, Francesca Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List (Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap).The Young Conservatory 2018-19 season begins with Lauren Yee’s Hookman (October 24-27, 2018).  READ MORE

New Dramatists offers an artistic home and developmental laboratory for professional playwrights. Also a resident is Aya Ogawa, playwright of The Bushwick Starr’s upcoming production in association with Ma-Yi of SUICIDE FOREST opening in February 2019.OTHER LABBIES WHO ARE RESIDENTS OR ALUMNI AT NEW DRAMATISTS ARE: Sam Chanse, Carla Ching, Clarence Coo, Mashuq Deen, Jiehae Park, as well as Lloyd Suh, playwright of Ma-Yi’s current season production (in Association with Barrington Stage Company), THE CHINESE LADY.
Tickets for “SESAR” 10/-20 thru 11/1
Tickets for “THE CHINESE LADY” 11/7-11/18

Hansol Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams at The Public Theater

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Our Friends at The Public Theater have announced a coproduction with La Jolla Playhouse of WILD GOOSE DREAMS by Hansol Jung, a Lab Member and playwright of Ma-Yi’s recent production of AMONG THE DEAD.

Tony nominee Leigh Silverman (VioletChinglishThe Outer Space) directs this strikingly original play with music, about two people from two cultures forced to choose between family and freedom.

October 30 – December 9, 2018, 

Martinson Hall, The Public Theater

ABOUT THE SHOW

Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible?

After its initial run in Public Studio, Hansol Jung’s fascinating and unforgettable new play WILD GOOSE DREAMS returns to The Public in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically-acclaimed run last season.Tony nominee Leigh Silverman (VioletChinglishThe Outer Space) directs this strikingly original play with music, about two people from two cultures forced to choose between family and freedom

“Hansol Jung’s play is smart and vivid. A rare and strange bird.” – San Diego Tribune


‘Wild Goose Dreams’ Is About Making Connections

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Yunjin Kim and James Kyson in La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere production of “Wild Goose Dreams,” by Hansol Jung, directed by Leigh Silverman, running in the Mandell Weiss Forum Sept. 5 through Oct. 1, 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: JIM CARMODY

PLAYBILL: Ma-Yi’s New Season to Open With Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady

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Shannon Tyo in The Chinese Lady at Barrington Stage Company /photo Eloy Garcia

For its 2018–2019 season, Ma-Yi Theater Company has teamed up with Barrington Stage Company to co-present Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady. The play, which is based on the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant who was subsequently made a carnival attraction, will wrap up its world-premiere engagement at BSC August 11 before transferring Off-Broadway this fall.The Chinese Lady will run in repertory at Theatre Row with Ma-Yi’s production of Sesar, by Orlando Pabotoy. The Chinese Lady will be directed by the company’s producing artistic director, Ralph B. Peña, who directed the original engagement. Shannon Tyo (Bright Half Life) and Daniel K. Isaac (Billions) will reprise their roles; performances will run November 7–November 18.
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Ralph B. Peña, Producing Artistic Director, Ma-Yi Theater Company Obie_Awards_2018_20_HR.jpg Ralph B. Peña Joseph Marzullo/WENN

READ FULL ARTICLE AT PLAYBILL

GET TICKETS


 

Ma-Yi’s 2018-2019 SEASON LINEUP

THE CHINESE LADY

(November 7-18, 2018) by Lloyd Suh, directed by Ralph B. Peña, a co-production with Barrington Stage Company
Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant. It is a tale of dark poetic whimsy, a piercing portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman; Afong Moy reflects on life in 1834 and beyond, as she is brought to the United States from China and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.”   TICKETS

 

Sesar 

(October 20 – November 1, 2018) Written by Orlando Pabotoy, Directed by Richard Feldman, AT THEATRE ROW
After watching an excerpt of “Julius Caesar” on The Cosby Show, a 14-year Filipino boy locks himself in the only family bathroom to dive head-first into the world of ancient Rome, determined to make sense of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. The boy’s father, a former town mayor now exiled because of his democratic beliefs, joins his son in the bathroom. Using his own political experience, a father helps his son understand Caesar’s story, and real-life lessons about power, life, and loss..   TICKETS

 

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Suicide Forest

(February 27 – March 26, 2019)  In association with The Bushwick Starr, Written by Kristine Haruna Lee, Directed by Aya Ogawa, a co-production with The Bushwick StarrIn 1990’s Japan, a salaryman desperately searches for his self-worth, while a lonely teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society. When the two find an awkward companionship in each other, they expose their darkest desires fueled by masochism and shame and must now confront life and death as the notorious Suicide Forest looms over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest is a bilingual play that breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.

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Fruiting Bodies 

(April 5 – May 9, 2019) Written by Sam Chanse, Directed by Shelley Butler
Two sisters go into the woods to find their missing father who has gotten lost on a routine mushroom hunting expedition. Deep in the forest they encounter a mysterious boy — who bears a striking resemblance to the dad’s estranged son, the sisters’ younger brother. With limited visibility, a forest that keeps turning itself around, and the interfamilial politics of race and gender, pushed to extremes, will they ever be able to find the road — or one another?

 

Ma-Yi offers business and cultural organizations and student groups the opportunity of purchasing and entire performance or group purchases of 15 or more at a discount. For more information on booking a specific performance date contact Charlie Read, Ma-Yi Communications Director at 212-971-4862 x104 or email and let us help you plan your special night at the theater.

 

SUMMER LABBIE UPDATES 2018

CLARENCE COO

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Clarence Coo

Labbie Clarence Coo participated in JAW FESTIVAL where he presented “an unusual, yet entirely understandable, preference for jays, sparrows and warblers over humans with “The Birds of Empathy.””

The 20th annual event gave playwrights venue to fine-tune works at The Armory, along with  Meghan Brown,  Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos. JAW Festival was spurred on by a partnership with the New York Theater Workshop and eventually plays became part of the regular Portland Center Stage lineup. The Festival BIG WEEKEND took place Friday through Sunday, July 27-29, at The Armory.

more from From DramaWatch Weekly: time to JAW:

“And in a small bit of research into this year’s playwrights, I did come across this simple exchange that I liked from an interview Clarence Coo did with Ma-Yi Theatre, where his JAW submission Birds of Empathy previously was workshopped in 2015:”

“Why do you write plays?

Clarence Coo: To increase the amount of empathy in the world.”

 

DAMON CHUA

Damon Chua

Damon Chua

Labbie Damon Chua‘s play THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE is part of

PANASIAN REPERTORY’s new season announcements.

“Launching our new Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Initiative
and reaching out to the younger generation”

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Clarence is a winner of 2017 The Whiting Award, established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, which bestow $50,000 on emerging writers, based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come.

 

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Kyoung Park

Kyoung Park’s Pillow Talk will be featured at CONFESTS, CAATA’s  Consortium of Asian-American Theaters and Artists “Radical Acts Festival” in Victory Gardens in Chicago. Read this THEATER FEATURE INTERVIEW  ‘Pillowtalk’ a love story for post-marriage equality world by Catey Sullivan.

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Following a successful New York City World Premiere this January, which received a rave review from the New York Times, PILLOWTALK will tour to Chicago and perform on Friday, Aug. 17th and Saturday, Aug. 18th at 8pm.

 

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Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza do “double time” as Resident Playwrights at Ma-Yi and La Jolla Playhouse

MIKE LEW AND REHANA LEW MIRZA

Ma-Yi’s Melon Funded Resident Playwrights Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza were awarded playwrights in residence at La Jolla Playhouse this season. Even before the recent closing of Ma-Yi’s highly acclaimed production of TEENAGE DICK at The Public Theater, the couple left to work on the trilogy “The Colonialism Project” (co-commissioned by the theater), as well as a new musical called “Bhangin’ It.”

“’The Colonialism Project’ is an ambitious time-spanning trilogy about colonialism and its aftermath. Through three interconnected full-length plays that together comprise an epic evening of theater, this work seeks to trace the scars of colonialism across nations and centuries, from British Raj in India, to plantation labor in the Caribbean, to the ripple effects of colonialism in America today.” The pair’s musical project, “B hangin’ It,” has a book by Mirza and Lew, with music and lyrics by Sam Willmott.

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Rehana Lew Mirza

Rehana Lew Mirza

Rehana was recently selected for the 2018 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony At Goodspeed where a total of 38 established and emerging composers, lyricists, and librettists converged on the Goodspeed campus from mid-January through mid-February 2018 to participate in the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals.

Rehana’s play, “Ladybits“, about an aspiring comedian who finds solace within a group of other female comedians feeling marginalized in an industry-and world-dominated by men, was part of Local Theater Company‘s Boulder New Play Festival April 20-22, 2018.

watch the video: by HOWLROUND : Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew at Ma Yi Theater Company, New York, NY — National Playwright Residency

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CARLA CHING

Atlantic Theater Company announced Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member Carla Ching’s play NOMAD MOTEL was commissioned through the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and will play May 22 – May 23, 2019 at The Atlantic Theater Company “In the not-so-sunny side of California, Alix bounces between motel rooms, taking care of her brothers for her mostly MIA mother. Her classmate Mason is a budding songwriter trying to keep off the radar of his absent father in Hong Kong. Together, they must learn to scrape by without giving up their dreams. “

On television, Carla has written on USA’s Graceland, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and is currently writing on Amazon’s I Love Dick.

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KIMBER LEE

Both Carla and Labbie, Kimber Lee were chosen to participate in Summer Residency (Ground Floor) Lab at Berkeley to work on projects in June 2018. Artists are selected based on a combination of existing relationships with Berkeley Rep and an application process. Interaction with other artists, staff, board and, when appropriate, the public are highly encouraged to identify where the project is in its development path, and to move it to the next stage, whatever that stage may be.

During the Residency “Toast Talk “Kimber Lee was featured in this humorous piece by The Daily Californian.

JON KERN

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Lab Member Jon Kern’s play BROKEN, directed by Carolyn Cantor, played at The Cape Cod Theater Project in late July.

“There’s a lot scientist Davis Musler, PhD, would like to change about his college-age daughter Amée. Foremost, he wants to restore her ability to walk. But Amée would just like to chill on her break with Dad’s grad student Olu, without feeling like a perpetual patient and science experiment, and without getting caught. BROKEN is a funny, acerbic clash over how others perceive us, how we define ourselves and how we claim our bodies.”

Jon has written for TV and theater, including THE SIMPSONS where he was a staff writer for four seasons. His plays include Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them (Second Stage Theatre; CATF), We in Silence Hear a Whisper (Red Fern Theatre Co.), and Hate the Loser Inside (2013 Marathon at Ensemble Studio Theatre). Awards: 2010-2011 Van Lier Fellowship from New Dramatists, 2012 Laurents/Hatcher Prize

SAM CHANSE

Jon is married to Labbie, Samantha Chanse, whose play, FRUITING BODIES will be part of Ma-Yi’s Mainstage 2018-2019 Season at Theater Row in April 2019, Directed by Shelley Buttler. The play recently had a June 2018 workshop at New Dramatists.

Sam’s “The Opportunities of Extinction” played at Broken Nose Theater in Milwakee and Cherry Lane Theater Mentor’s Project in NYC, and a production of her play “Trigger” with Leviathan Lab, and a residency at SPACE on Ryder Farms in 2017.

 

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FROM THE DESK OF A REY PAMATMAT, co-director of THE MAYI WRITERS LAB

As anticipated, the Sundance Theatre Lab in Morocco was amazing, and productive. It was also completely exhausting — in the good, “I did so much work while also learning about a whole new culture/country” way.It’s a good thing I had another residency right afterward so I could recover from that one.

As announced while I was on the other side of the ocean, I will be a Working Farm resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm for summer 2018. I’m working on a whole new piece that’s all kinds of ambitious, which I hope to tell you more about when more of it is done. With all the large cast pieces I’ve done before (Out of Joint, A Spare Me, A Power Play; Or, What’s-its-name), this one breaks even more boundaries, so wish me luck.

 

Ma-Yi Receives NEA $15,000 Grant for Deepa Purohit’s Elyria

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Deepa Purohit

New YorkNational Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this category is an Arts Work Grant of $15,000 to Ma-Yi Theater Company to support the development of Elyria,” a play with music by Ma-Yi Writers Lab member Deepa Purohit and director Stephen Brown-Fried. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Ma-Yi in New York City, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

The Chinese Lady Opens July 26th at Barrington Stage

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THE CHINESE LADY, by Lloyd Suh, will close at Barrington Stage on August 11th, and move to Manhattan as a Ma-Yi Main Stage Production in repertory with Sesar, by Orlando Pabatoy, in Mid October 2018.

 by Lia Chang

Ma-Yi’s Writers Lab member, Lloyd Suh‘s THE CHINESE LADY previewed July 20th with an opening on July 26th in a coproduction between Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, MA. Directed by Ma-Yi Artistic Director, Ralph B. Pena, The Chinese Lady will move to Manhattan as a Ma-Yi Main Stage production in Late October through November, in tandem with a production of Sesar, by Orlando Pabotoy.

Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in the Berkshires (Pittsfield, MA) under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, is presenting the World Premiere of The Chinese Lady starring Shannon Tyo (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Afong Moy” and Daniel K. Isaac (“Billions”) as “Atung.”

Directed by Ralph Peña (Producing Artistic Director, Ma-Yi Theater Company), and presented in a co-production with the Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Chinese Lady begins previews Friday, July 20 on the St. Germain Stage, Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Opening night is Wednesday, July 25, and performances will run through Saturday, August 11.

WATCH INTERVIEW VIDEO OF CHINESE LADY DIRECTOR, WITH RALPH B. PEÑA

PRODUCTION PHOTOS BY ELOY GARCIA

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The Chinese Lady focuses on the life of Afong Moy, who in 1834 at 14 years of age, is brought to the United States from Beijing and put on display for the American public as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next 45 years, she performs in a side show that both defines and challenges her own view of herself. Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, playwright Lloyd Suh spins a tale of dark poetic whimsy in this piercing  portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

Q & A with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo, Stars of Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY- by Lia Chang

Moy is played by Shannon Tyo whose Off-Broadway credits include Kentucky, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include The White Snake at the Old Globe, San Diego; Miss Saigon at the Pioneer Theatre Co, Music Theatre of Wichita and Cape Fear Regional; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Beeat Northern Stage, Tuacahn PAC and Pioneer Theatre Co.; and Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage. BFA Syracuse University.

Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) is an actor and writer born and raised in Southern California, currently based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.”

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Isaac co-wrote and stars in the short film/pilot presentation, “According To My Mother.” The project was selected for IFP Film Week and the inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab and was an Official Selection at ITVFest, Newfest, Outfest Fusion, Outfest, CAAMfest, SeriesFest (where it was awarded Best Actress), and New York Television Festival (Best Drama and Best Actor). “According To My Mother” is currently in development to become a digital series on First Look Media’s new platform, TOPIC. Isaac is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA.

He recently appeared as William Inge in the Off-Broadway production of Philip Dawkin’s The Gentleman Caller, produced by Abingdon Theatre at The Cherry Lane.

NYC: Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO).

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Lloyd Suh, Playwright: THE CHINESE LADY

Playwright Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome Foundation, TCG, and Dramatists Guild, and has been a recipient of the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Playhouse, the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award, and the Helen Merrill Award. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He currently serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and has since 2011 served as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.

Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-win

Director Ralph B. Peña is the current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Recent directing credits include Among the DeadHouse Rules (Ma-Yi) The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award), Julia Specht’s Down Cleghorn, Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), Mike Lew’s microcrisis(Youngblood, Ma-Yi), and House/Boy (Dublin and Singapore Theater Festivals). His theater work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Second Generation, Victory Gardens, and LaMama ETC, among others. He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio. Ralph is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater. This is for Damien, always and forever.

The Chinese Lady will close at Barrington Stage on August 11th, and move to Manhattan as a Ma-Yi Main Stage Production in repertory with Sesar by Orlando Pabatoy in Mid October 2018.

 by Lia Chang

Ma-Yi to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

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Deepa Purohit

New YorkNational Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this category is an Arts Work Grant of $15,000 to Ma-Yi Theater Company to support the development of Elyria,” a play with music by Ma-Yi Writers Lab member Deepa Purohit and director Stephen Brown-Fried. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Ma-Yi in New York City, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

Ma-Yi’s Mike Lew on his play, Teenage Dick, Shakespeare and Adaptation

Mike Lew, Ma-Yi Resident Playwright, Co-Director of Ma-yi Writers Lab and Playwright: Teenage Dick

On Adaptation and Shakespeare

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In 2012 my actor friend Gregg Mozgala came at me with a crazy idea. He was starting a new company called The Apothetae – a theater that examines the disabled experience – and wanted to kick things off by commissioning me to write a new play – an adaptation of Richard III set in high school called Teenage Dick. I mean the title alone! How could I refuse?

I immediately said yes, then did no writing for a year. But I couldn’t stand the thought of that title going to somebody else so I hurried up and finished a draft. In 2013 we did the first-ever staged reading (starring Gregg and Shannon DeVido) with Ma-Yi Theater. Five years later Gregg and Shannon are now starring in the world premiere with Ma-Yi Theater at the Public.The journey had me thinking a lot about adaptation, and also about Shakespeare,

As a living playwright writing new plays, it’s hard not to envy how many “production slots” go to Shakespeare. The guy’s been dead for over 400 years but on some level we’re competing for limited resources and he is decidedly winning. This is not to throw shade at Shakespeare himself, nor at the Public (home to Shakespeare in the Park, the Shakespeare Mobile Unit, and the Public Shakespeare Initiative).
This is to say that Gregg’s proposal brought me a great deal of trepidation: why adapt Richard III as opposed to just doing another production of the original? And I think the answer to that is that if we’re to examine the disabled experience we have to both acknowledge and in some way disrupt our forebears. I’ve grown to realize Teenage Dick is part of a whole subclass of new plays that use existing works as a jumping-off point to say something entirely new, but more importantly to break up the canon and make more room for marginalized groups. I’m thinking particularly of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon (which re-appropriates Black stock characters from melodrama to redefine our contemporary understanding of Blackness), or David Adjmi’s 3C (which subverts the gay stereotypes from Three’s Company and the golden age of sitcoms), or Jiehae Park’s Peerless (which uses Macbeth’s Shakespearean ambition as a pointed critique of the stereotypes around Asian overachievement).
A sneak peek of rehearsals with Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Director of Teenage Dick, and playwright, Michael Lew.
Enter Code MAYIPRE for $45 Tickets to TEENAGE DICK

 

In these plays adaptation is a subversive act. By undermining the dominant stereotypes of a marginalized group we seek to re-center that group so that they are the tellers of their own stories.In my case Teenage Dick is meant to take the most famous disabled character of all time and challenge Shakespeare’s conception that Richard’s disability makes him inherently evil. Teenage Dick attempts to explode that old conception as well as its condescending modern-day cousin: that all disabled people are a metaphor for transcendence. (For a good year, Gregg kept sending me clip after clip of high school sports teams smugly including a disabled classmate on their team in a blatant attempt at demonstrative inclusivity.) It’s my hope that Teenage Dick takes all the drama and stakes of murderous monarchal succession and by cramming that into high school (which can also be life-or-death) we approach a contemporary resonance that a straightforward production of Richard III could never provide. But that is not the sole purpose of this adaptation. It’s also my hope that by exploding tired tropes about disability – those from Shakespeare’s time as well as our own – that this play will say something entirely new.
Ma-Yi Theater is also saying something new and radical by producing this play. By having an Asian-American theater partnering with the Public, the production itself seeks to make more room for an underserved group. And though this play isn’t thematically about Asian-American issues, in showcasing an Asian-American writer’s work alongside a strong contingent of Asian-American actors and designers, we hope to collectively challenge any preconceptions around what an Asian-American play looks like.
The world needs new narratives right now. We need new ways of seeing each other – fresh perspectives and new ways of taking each other in. So no offense to Shakespeare, but I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this particular and unique band of players making its way to the stage.
Enter Code MAYIPRE for $45 Tickets to TEENAGE DICK

 

 Support CAATA’s “Revolutionary Acts” and Make Jorge Smile again!

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A Request from former Executive Director of Ma-Yi and Current Board Member and Senior Advisor, Jorge Z. Ortoll:

Dear Ma-Yi Family, Friends and Patrons:

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Jorge Z. Ortoll is a co-founder of The Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), an organization that supports the vibrant, growing and changing field of Asian American theater.

I’m reaching out to ask for your generous support for The Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), an organization that has increased visibility of Asian American theater in the United States. In the world of the arts there is a great distortion between the demographic realities and cultural representation in the USA today, and by joining the CAATA crowd-funding campaign  you’re helping in decreasing this divide.

Since 2004, CAATA has led the “revolution” towards a stronger and more sustainable Asian American theater presence that is an integral part of national culture. Through our network of organizations and artists we collaborate to inspire learning and sharing of knowledge and resources to promote a healthy, sustainable artistic ecology.

I am proud to be one of the seven founders of CAATA working in the steering committee of the First National Asian American Theater Conference in Los Angeles in June 2006 and as one of three members of the executive committee that organized the First National Asian American Theater Festival (CONFEST) held in New York City from June 11 to 24, 2007.

This August CONFEST is scheduled with six days of performances, including Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab Member, Kyoung Park‘s play, PILLOWTALK, along with panel discussions breakout sessions, new play readings, parties, networking and more. We need your help to continue.
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ConFest 2018 | Chicago presents Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s PILLOWTALK: Queers the intersections of race, gender, and class—Written and directed by Ma-Yi Labbie Kyoung H. Park, Performed by JP Moraga and Basit Shittu, Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave,  Chicago
I hope you’ll make me smile by being a part of this important movement by attending CONFEST 2018 or by making a contribution. And Please spread the word.

Yours, Jorge

 

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