Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band Premieres West Coast

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Lauren Yee

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member Lauren Yee’s new play, Cambodian Rock Band with music by Dengue Fever and directed by Chay Yew begins at the JULIANNE ARGYROS STAGE
March 4, 2018 – March 25, 2018 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA.

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American has found evidence that could finally put away the Khmer Rouge’s chief henchman. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced—his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago—it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. 

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This play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award

Lab Member David Zheng awarded 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship

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Congratulations to our newest Ma-Yi Writers Lab member David Zheng, recipient of the 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship along with Erika Dickerson-Despenza. This year long residency is designed to support extraordinary playwrights of color under the age of 30, in order to help address the lack of inclusion of early career playwrights of color in the theater field. The Fellowship includes a cash award of $15,000, plus up to $3,000 in health insurance reimbursement, as well as access to a wide range of The Lark resources, including artistic program participation, office and rehearsal space, and staff support.

Regarding the fellowship, Zheng says: “I can’t wait to start developing new work with the artistic guidance of such an amazing community of theater-makers. I look forward to challenging myself and creating conversations. And most of all, I am thrilled to have a space to grow – and to use this as an opportunity to build the bridge between where I come from and where I want to go.”

Zheng is a first-generation Chinese American Actor, Playwright, and Photographer from The Boogie Down Bronx. His plays include KINGSBRIDGE and Ghetto Baptism, which has received workshops and public sharing at The LAByrinth Theater Company, Cherry Lane Theater Company, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.  He is the recipient of the 2017 Playwriting Observer Fellowship at the LAByrinth Theater Company and the 2017 inaugural Greenhouse Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. He is a current member of the Gingold Theatrical Group’s Speakers’ Corner. David is a founding member of the Middle Voice at Rattlestick.

Ma-Yi Theater and Barrington Stage presents THE CHINESE LADY

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Ma-Yi Theater Company in a coproduction with Barrington Stage Company present

THE CHINESE LADY

Written by Former codirector and Member of Ma-Yi  Writers Lab, Lloyd Suh and Directed by Ma-Yi’s Producing Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña the show will premier July 19 through Aug 11 2018 at St. Germain Stage, in Pittsfield, MA. 

In 1834, Afong Moy was brought from Bejing to America and put on display as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next 45 years, she performed in a side show that both defined and challenged her own view of herself, as she witnessed stunning transformations in the US.

Per Barrington Stage Company’s founding artistic director, Julianne Boyd. “It’s a season of plays about women in difficult situations.”

“I really don’t consciously set out looking for a theme for the season,” Boyd said during a phone interview, just before officially rolling out the 2018 season at a press luncheon at BSC’s Wolfson Center on North Street. “I mean, usually I pick the plays first and then it seems a theme emerges. This year, I wanted to choose plays that had great roles for women.

Announcements about The Chinese Lady:

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Broadway World

American Theatre

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July 19- Aug 11 2018 at St. Germain StageSydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street at Center St. in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, (1 block west of North St., 2 blocks north of Main)

Labbies Madhuri Shekar and Dustin Chinn Join Ars Nova’s PLAY GROUP Residency

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ARS NOVA  announced the new additions to PLAY GROUP 2018, a resident playwright membership that meets twice a month to share new work and get peer feedback. Lab Members Dustin Chinn and Madhuri Shekar, along with four others, will join the 12 member group.

Play Group is a two year residency in which members become a part of the Ars Nova Resident Artist community. In addition to biweekly meetings where members share new work and receive feedback from their Play Group peers, members also receive dramaturgical support and artistic match-making advice from the Ars Nova artistic staff; invitations to Ars Nova shows, Resident Artists mixers, and to see the work of Play Group alums around the city; two Play Group writing retreats; and the opportunity to further develop and showcase one of their plays in a weeklong workshop that can culminate in a public reading. Play Group alumni include Labbies Dipika Guha and Sam Chanse.

Labbies Nandita Shenoy and Mrinalini Kamath Plays Presented at UW Mellon Creative Series

VIA ANDREW MELLON FUNDED THEATER FELLOWSHIPS INITIATIVE WITH UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

Ma-Yi Theater is honored to continue this program in partnership with the University of Washington’s Meany Center. This year’s participants are Ma-Yi Labbies Nandita Shenoy and Mrinalini Kamath. Their plays will be presented at UW Mellon Creative Series.

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Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members Nandita Shenoy and Mrinalini Kamath will present readings of their works at A Mellon Creative Process Series in cooperation with University of Washington Drama faculty, and graduate and undergraduate actors. The readings will take place on Thursday, January 18th, 2018 at 6:00pm in the Cabaret Theatre in Hutchinson Hall in Seattle. This is a FREE event.

MORE ABOUT THE PLAYS:

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ESSPY by Nandita Shenoy / Directed by L. Zane Jones

Can compassion be taught? A medical student and an actor cross paths repeatedly during medical simulations, developing a friendship that reveals how much they have to learn from each other.

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LET THERE BE LOVE by Mrinalini Kamath / Directed by Andrew Tsao

A modern mash-up of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers and the Greek myth Eros and Psyche, Let There Be Love is a play about online dating and modern matchmaking, and our cravings for—and fears of—intimacy and connection.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded these projects providing University of Washington a three-year, $750,000 grant to support a Creative Fellowships Initiative. The Initiative, spearheaded by The Meany Center, supports the development of new artistic work and connects the arts, sciences and humanities. Through research-directed interdisciplinary creative residencies, the Initiative provides a way forward, both to serve the performing arts field and to champion the values of art in the culture at large.through a partnership where our Lab playwrights participate in 1-week teaching residencies, 2-week developmental residencies, and/or month-long writing residencies and presentations of their work.

 In 2017, UW hosted Kyoung Park and Deepa Purohit for teaching residencies and Dustin Chinn for a one-month writing  and research residency.

Kyoung Park’s Pillowtalk Premieres January at The Tank

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Kyoung Park

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat and The Tank will co-produce the World Premiere of PILLOWTALK, written and directed by Kyoung H. Park at The Tank (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) January 11-27, as part of The Exponential Festival. Set in Brooklyn in 2017, PILLOWTALK brings to life one night in the lives of Sam and Buck, a recently married interracial couple.

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“PILLOWTALK queers the intersections of race, gender, and class to challenge our assumptions of love and marriage. Confronting the backlash against marriage equality and #BlackLivesMatter, PILLOWTALK explores how liberation and oppression co-exist in our most intimate spaces, transforming social and cultural traditions into radical performances of change.” more

Written and directed by Kyoung H. Park, Performed by JP Moraga and Basit Shittu

Our Friends at LEVIATHAN present Sam Chanse’s TRIGGER

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Sam Chanse

Leviathan Lab presents TRIGGER by Lab Member, Sam Chanse. Directed by Flordelino Lagundino At IATI Underground Theater, 64 E 4th Street, February 23-March 11, 2018

“When a childhood friend’s racist rant goes viral, Lee wrestles with the rage inside herself and in others. On top of that, she has to deal with a deteriorating domestic situation and a sudden xenophobic attack on a family member. What can she do? Lee seeks refuge in studies of ignorance and the science of emotions. As ancient goddesses and not-so-ancient house flies hover over her lecture notes, she comes to learn what little she really knows. In this topical and mythic dramedy, Trigger asks how we can connect people in a time of heightened fear and anger.” GET TICKETS

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Sam is also recipient of the Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project, a program that partners an emerging author with a seasoned professional for a year of script work, rewrites, casting, rehearsals, and a full production at Cherry Lane. The fully staged production of her play, The Opportunities of Extinction will be presented February 28-April 7, 2018. Migdalia Cruz (El Grito Del Bronx) will  mentor Sam Chanse.

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The Opportunities of Extinction  is described as follows: “Mel and Arjun have embarked on a last-minute camping trip to take refuge from the brewing storm of their lives. Georgia is studying the impact of climate change on the imperiled Joshua tree. Navigating a world in crisis on multiple fronts, what does it mean to survive in the face of annihilation?”

The play earned an entry in the 2017 Kilroy list and a production by BROKEN NOSE THEATER will run June 1 – 30, 2018, at The Den Theatre in Chicago

Don Nguyen says “Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth”

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member Don Nguyen‘s play, Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth with performances beginning  Feb. 24th of 2018, at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd Street. 

Friends William and Betsy haven’t seen each other since high school. They’ve both followed their dreams, but something is missing: his all-consuming job at NASA doesn’t leave time for a family, and she can’t bear another unsuccessful round of IVF with her partner Shoshanna. When Betsy texts William out the blue and asks him to be her sperm donor, both friends are forced to make decisions that will shape the rest of their lives. Directed by Jade King Carroll, this new comedy explores a different sort of coming of age – when dreams give way to plans, and idealism becomes realism.

Playwrights Realm and Ma-Yi have been essential in the development of Nguyen‘s play, Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth as seen below:

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Don Nguyen

Playwrights Realm Workshop March 2017 — Directed by Jade King Carroll

Ma-Yi Workshop October 2016 — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

hERD Podcast Series March 2016 — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

Ma-Yi Winter LabFest January 2016 —  Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

Read at All Systems Go: Mission 2, an evening of excerpts from the Propulsion Lab Plays — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

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SHOSHANA:
I’m sorry I screamed in your vagina.

BETSY:
Yeah.  That was weird.

Hansol Jung’s “Cardboard Piano” Plays East and West in 2018

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Hansol Jung

St. Paul/Minneapolis’ Park Square begins the new year on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage with the Midwest premiere of Hansol Jung‘s timely drama Cardboard Piano. Signe V. Harriday directs the powerful play about romance and redemption against the backdrop of inexplicable violence. The Courier Journal called Cardboard Piano “deeply moving” and “haunting” upon its 2016 premiere at The Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New Plays.

From BROADWAY WORLD:  “Of her inspiration, Hansol Jung said in an interview last year, “There was a lot of media noise in 2013 about northern Uganda kidnappings by Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army… There also was a lot of coverage about gay marriage in the United States and Korea…There was a lot of violence associated with both issues, and many people also connected faith and God to both. That was disturbing to me. It went against the idea of faith and love and what they being so generous and beautiful, and a solution to problems.”

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Is our capacity for love greater than violence? In Northern Uganda, the daughter of an American missionary and a local teenage girl steal into a candlelit church to exchange vows in a secret wedding ceremony. But when an escalating civil war encroaches on their fragile union, they cannot escape its reach. Confron

Diversionary Theater will premiere Cardboard Piano  as part of the University Heights company’s recently announced 2017-18 season in San Diego, Jan. 25 to Feb. 25, 2018. Later in the year International City Theatre will present Cardboard Piano (May 4-20, 2018) at the Long Beach, CA, Performing Arts Center, where ICT is the resident professional theater company in its announced 2018 season. Actor’s Express in Atlanta celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary season with Cardboard Piano, November 11 through December 3, 2017.

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You’ll remember Hansol Jung as playwright of Ma-Yi’s main stage production of last season’s Among The Dead.

Other plays by Hansol Jung produced in 2017

 

Also her play, Wild Goose Dreams premiered at La Jolla Playhouse Directed by Leigh Silverman and  as well as at The Public in April of 2017.

Jung’s Wolf Play was staged at Victory Gardens Theater  earlier this year at the IGNITION Festival of New Plays and was developed in a commission at  At the Table in 2017/2018

Her play, No More Sad Things  was produced by Forward Flux Productions  September 19 – October 7 in Seattle, WA.

Lloyd Suh’s “Franklinland” Premieres Chicago in Feb 2018

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Lloyd Suh

FRANKLINLAND World Premiere at Jackalope Theatre Company

Jackalope Theatre Company will celebrate its 10th birthday with three world premieres, including  Franklinland, written by Ma-yi Writers Lab Member and co-founder, Lloyd Suh, directed by Chika Ike. Franklinland runs January 8 – February 24th, 2018 at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are $5 (Previews) – $30, and are on sale now at jackalopetheatre.org.

“Growing up as the only son of Benjamin Franklin – the greatest scientific mind in the world; inventor of the lightning rod, the odometer, the glass harmonica, bifocal glasses, and, in his spare time, The United States of America – is not all it’s cracked up to be. In the world premiere of this moving new play, Franklinland asks what it’s like to make your way in life knowing your father’s greatest invention wasn’t you.”

The cast for the Jackelope production of Franklinland features Tom Hickey (Ben), Kai Ealy (William), and Nik Kmiecik (Temple).

Lloyd Suh, one of the producers of Asian-American Mixfest, recently shared a reading of  his play Franklinland in a presentation on August 15 that was directed by Ma-yi’s Producing Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña.

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Suh’s Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery recently played at Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. According to Chris Hewitt at Pioneer Press “Suh is able to sneak up on us with scenes that cut right to the heart of its critique of soul-damaging stereotypes: When an actor is asked to list the ways white and Asian people are different, for instance, the result is not pretty. And the poignancy of a scene where the detective, in Seifert’s nuanced performance, morphs into Frank’s dad is both earned and wholly unexpected. “

Recently Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays: Series B featured Suh’s DISNEY & FUJIKAWA,  a one-act that involves  a meeting of two very different cartoonists, Gyo Fujikawa and Walt Disney, in 1942. An uncomfortable conversation on power, personal responsibility, and the art of animation at a time of great uncertainty and national crisis ensues.

What are you working on next? (Broadway World Q&A)

“A new play for young audiences with Children’s Theatre Company, a couple of plays examining key moments in Asian American history, and one of those Oregon Shakespeare Festival Play On! Shakespeare “translations” of Henry V.”

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