San Francisco’s A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theater) has inaugurated its new Strand Theater on Market Street with a pair of one-act plays based on the short stories of Bay Area author Lysley Tenorio. The first play, Remember the I-Hotel, begins in 1977 during the historically infamous evictions of long-time elderly residents from Manilatown’s I-Hotel. In a flashback to the 1930s the play reveals the backstory of two of these long-time residents, Vincente (played with believable magnetism by Philip Estrera) and Fortunado (played by the versatile Jomar Tagatac). The flashback introduces the pair as recent immigrants from the Philippines who meet for the first time in a San Francisco dance hall. Vicente and ‘Nado bond quickly and become the closest of companions at work, out on the town, and at home at the I-Hotel. They are inseparable until Vincente falls for the fresh from Wisconsin 18-year -old aspiring journalist Althea (Danielle Frimer), and embarks on an illegal interracial relationship with disastrous consequences.
Audacity [ôˈdasədē] NOUN: the willingness to take bold risks. Take Wings and Soar (TWAS) and New Heritage Theatre Group (NHTG) has audacity! These two theatre groups collaborated to produce an all women version of William Shakespeare’s Othello. The play was first performed in 1604 in England with the title, “The Moor of Venice.” This time the basement of the St. James church at 141st street and St. Nicholas Avenue (The Dorothy Maynor Theatre) is 17th century Venice and Cyprus. TWAS and NHTG’S 2015 version, most of the time, hits the mark that any successful production might hope for. In addition, #DiversityOnStage is apparent in this production, which is what we love to see here on Arts In Color!
This weekend I made my way downtown to check out the new play at The Public Theater that everyone is buzzing about, Barbecue by Robert O’ Hara. I am happy to give this unique evening of theatre the Arts in Color seal of approval.
It seems fitting to see a play that deals homosexuality on the day the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. Like Loving v. Virginia almost a half-century ago, Obergefell v. Hodge is poised to change history.
Tarell Alvin McCraney originally debuted Choir Boy in September 2012, but with the Supreme Court decision and the recent attacks on African-American congregations in the South, it feels like it was written specifically for the audience of June 2015.
Theatre scholar Lisa Silberman Brenner began the Public Theater’s June 8th panel discussion Playing Jewish at the National Asian American Theatre Company with the following provocations:
- According to an Asian American Performers Action Coalition analysis, from 2006 onwards the percentage of Asian American actors performing in Broadway or major non-profit off-Broadway productions has ranged from 1% to 4% (an all time high, never repeated).
- Of all ethnic minorities, actors of Asian descent are least likely to play roles not defined by race
- Twenty percent of approximately 6 million Jewish Americans are non-Caucasian.
These statistics informed a lively discussion about issues of ethnicity and representation in the theatre as they intersect with and inform the National Asian American Theatre Company’s upcoming all Asian-American production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, a play about a three-generation Jewish American family set during the Great Depression. Continue reading
Isfahan Blues is set up in flashbacks. Aging Iranian film star Bella (Vida Ghahremani) has conjured up musician Ray Hamilton (L. Peter Callender), to regale her with tales of the 24 hours they spent together in Iran in 1963.
Artistic Asians Runs on Shorts (AAROS) is the inaugural showcase for works created by a collaborative collective of Asian and Asian American artists in New York City. Taking place at the architecturally gorgeous former firehouse on 87th Lafayette St. in Manhattan, the May 16th event brings together performances, videos, and exhibitions from actors, directors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists. Featured works include Caroline Shin’s delightful YouTube series in which local grandmothers are interviewed while cooking traditional dishes and a unique musical art installation from James Wu in which the sound of a violin interweaves with recordings of NYC subways. AAROS founder Heesuk Chae spoke with Arts in Color about the inspiration behind the collective, the upcoming showcase, and her hopes for the project’s future. Continue reading
In the first act of Don Nguyen’s new Vietnam-set play Red Flamboyant, feisty and unrepentantly forthright know-it-all Mrs Sau (Karen Huie) compares her young landlord, fellow HIV/AIDS sufferer Mrs. Hue (Nancy Sun), to a jackdaw. A jackdaw, Mrs. Sau informs Mrs. Hue in a voice dripping with judgment, is a type of crow that lives its life silently but lets out a scream before it dies. It is a pointed accusation, coming from a woman who is proud she supported American soldiers during the Vietnam war; she may have lost, but she fought. Continue reading
Head of Passes is the place at the southernmost tip of Louisiana where the mouth of the Mississippi River branches off into the Gulf of Mexico. It is remote and unpredictable, making it an apt setting for this emotional play about faith and family.
Nirbhaya, we are told at the beginning of this play, means fearless. It was a pseudonym given by the Indian press to Jyoti Singh Pandey, a bright, ambitious, 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who, on the night of December 16th in 2012, boarded a private New Delhi bus to return home to her parents after attending a movie. She never made it back.
Hello spring! It’s been rough, but we made it through winter and now we are all ready to welcome the sunny blue skies that April will bring. While you’re taking in a little Vitamin D from Mother Nature, why not check out the diversity that theatre has to offer? Continue reading
The poetic new play Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food) is a magic, media, and rhythm-infused retelling of the Greek myth Phaedra set in the present-day, gentrifying Bronx. Continue reading