(Los Angeles, CA) Feb. 6, 2017 – Following critical acclaim for the world premiere of The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up, by Carla Ching, Artists at Play (AAP) maintains their growing commitment to developing new works into 2017. As they aim to tell the stories of diverse communities in Los Angeles theatre, AAP is partnering with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and the Los Angeles Public Library this season as well as tackling another world premiere production.
“Artists at Play has always strived for growth and to find more ways to fulfill our mission,” says Producing Artistic Leader Marie Reine-Velez. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be forging new collaborations which allows us to bring these often unheard stories to a wider audience in Los Angeles.”
Chay Yew’s frank drama, Question 27, Question 28 will be presented by AAP and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the unjust internment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. The play is a collection of interviews and transcripts recounting the stories of actual women who lived through the removal of Japanese Americans, their internment and the painful aftermath. The reading is directed by Alison De La Cruz and will perform on Sunday, February 26 at 3:00pm at the Black Box at the Aratani Theatre.
In the spring, AAP will workshop Victor Maog’s tot: The Untold, Yet Spectacular Story of (a filipino) Hulk Hogan, followed by multiple readings in May across L.A. through a partnership with the Los Angeles Public Library L.A. Made series. tot follows an immigrant boy as he travels from the Ferdinand Marcos-ruled Philippines to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet his long lost parents. He journeys from a country full of strife and military rule only to find himself in his lonely American bedroom conjuring up pro wrestling fantasies to escape his new life.
AAP will host their annual Summer Salon on July 1, which presents an opportunity to incorporate diverse casting for a popular play or musical that does not require, but is consistently cast with all white actors. Previous Summer Salons have featured actors including John Cho, Amy Hill, Reggie Lee, and Tamlyn Tomita.
This year’s main stage fall production will be the world premiere of Leah Nanako Winkler’s Two Mile Hollow. This marks AAP’s second world premiere and their continued commitment to supporting new diverse voices.
“This year’s programming bolsters our reputation as champions of new works–it shows that we not only foster them through development, but also give playwrights first productions of their new plays,” said AAP Producer Nicholas Pilapil. “We are beyond thrilled to finally produce this wonderful play after developing it with Leah in 2016 during the Artists at Play Readings at East West Players and the 5th National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.”
In Two Mile Hollow, an internal storm brews alongside an actual storm, as the Donnelly’s gather for a weekend in the country. As this brood of famous, longing-to-be-famous and kind of a mess family convenes, some really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed … over white wine. Winkler injects the dysfunctional family genre with brutality, awe and compassion through a parody coupled with moments of disorienting sincerity.
Leah Nanako Winkler’s play KENTUCKY (2015 Kilroys List) recently received its world premiere off-Broadway at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in co-production with Page 73 and Radio Drama Network and a subsequent West Coast Premiere at East West Players. Other works include Death For Sydney Black (Kilroys Honorable Mention, terraNova Collective), Diversity Awareness Picnic (Kilroys Honorable mention), The Adventures of Minami: The Robot From Japan Who Makes You Feel Safe When Loneliness Is Palpable (The Brick), Double Suicide At Ueno Park!!! (EST/Marathon) and more. She is a 2016 and 2017 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Nominee, a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Playwrights Group at Primary Stages, Ma-Yi, Ensemble Studio Theatre, a 2017 Sundance/Ucross Fellow, a 2016-2018 Time Warner fellow at the Women’s Project and an alumnus of Youngblood.
About Artists at Play
Founded in 2011 by Julia Cho, Peter J. Kuo, Stefanie Wong Lau and Marie-Reine Velez, Artists at Play is a collective of Asian American creative professionals who have come together to curate quality theatre in Los Angeles. Producing Member Nicholas Pilapil joined Artists at Play in 2013. Artists at Play presents theatrical productions missing from Los Angeles’ local landscape to tell the stories of communities underrepresented in theatre, with a focus on the Asian American experience. Past productions include Lauren Yee’s Ching Chong Chinaman, A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, Michael Golamco’s Cowboy Versus Samurai, playwright Julia Cho’s 99 Histories, Madhuri Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft and most recently the world premiere of Carla Ching’s The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up. Dedicated to new play development, Artists at Play has also developed new works by Boni B. Alvarez, Sanaz Toossi, Alice Tuan and Leah Nanako Winkler, among others as part of their Artists at Play Readings.