East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, is pleased to announce a new series of community conversations and readings titled, Counter-Culture, as part of its 53rd Anniversary Season, Culture Shock. The Counter-Culture series will explore themes that vary from immigration, homelessness, gun control, to how to create art in these challenging political times.
“This series of community conversations and presentations of new works allow for a deeper dialogue about the big issues affecting us today. We want to present pieces that are timely, relevant, and explore new modes of storytelling and theatrical presentation in order to challenge mainstream narratives—and, in line with our new Culture Shock season—disrupt the status quo,” says EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai.
The first event on Saturday, August 25 at 7:00PM features a collaboration between EWP and SCOTUS Theater, a Bay Area-based organization that brings together communities of artists, activists, and concerned individuals to hear and consider Supreme Court cases. It includes a reading of SCOTUS Theater’s 2017 reading of arguments in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a Supreme Court case that challenged the prolonged detention of migrants.
This revival, which will incorporate texts from the argument, decision, and dissent, provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on the jurisprudence that underlies US immigration policy. Directed by Becca Wolff, the reading will be performed by lawyers and professional actors. The reading will be followed by an expert panel featuring Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU of Southern California, who argued Jennings v. Rodriguez on behalf of the respondents. The panel will delve into issues raised by the case: our moral and legal obligations to migrants in detention, and the current legal and political landscape.
FEME (First Syllable Female) Readings takes place on Sunday, August 26 at 5:00PM and includes readings of new works written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (The New Planet), Jeanne Sakata (new one-person play based on Aiko Herzog-Yoshinaga), Alice Tuan (SPIN, STIR), Kristina Wong (Kristina Wong for Public Office), and Erin La Rosa (a full-length reading of Sinkhole), members of EWP’s inaugural playwrights group, which was directed by playwright Alice Tuan and features all-female playwrights.
The SCOTUS Theater Los Angeles Reading is $15, with proceeds going to the ACLU of Southern California. The FEME (First Syllable Female) Readings are free. All events are open to the public and will take place at East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. To purchase tickets and to RSVP, please click on the “Buy Tickets” button at www.eastwestplayers.org.
As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic work and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific Islander (API) experiences. Founded in 1965, at a time when APIs faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape, EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.
For more information about East West Players, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.