Asian American Plays, by Author (K)
- Beyond Gifted (EWP, 2003)
- A young woman searches for her gifted brother who desperately wants to fly away. Isolation, reaching out, and paranormal activity intertwine in this modern mythological tale.
- Mr. Sharpy/Don’t Forget My Name (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
- Living Room (Kumu Kahua, 2018)
Eli’s family and friends are well-meaning, but they won’t leave him alone as he wrestles with his troubled past and uncertain future. Millie, Rose, Fannie and Junior haunt Eli with their concerns until they nearly drive him crazy. Eli’s indomitable sense of humor and a handsome stranger may be his saving grace in this comedy about the drama one local man faces alone in a crowded room.
Blue (Kumu Kahua, 2019)
It’s not just fun and games at Waikīkī’s Aloha Sunset Lānai. Balancing personal dreams and multiple jobs, a dynamic musical duo and their hula counterparts discover that sometimes the entertainment they provide has profound impacts.
- Tales of Olympus: A Greek Myth Musical (Bay Area Children’s Theatre.)
Book, Music & Lyrics by Min Kahng
Peering down from their home on Mt. Olympus, the ancient Greek gods see a fast-paced, modern world filled with high-tech distractions. Who has the time to remember their stories?
Calliope, the goddess of epic poetry, descends from the mountaintop to enlist the help of an 11-year-old mortal, Jason. But does Jason have the guts to overcome his stagefright and become the next bard?
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A Musical Adaptation (Bay Area’s Children Theatre)
Book, Music & Lyrics by Min Kahng
Based on the novel by Grace Lin
In this musical adaptation of Grace Lin’s Newbery Honor Book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a spunky young girl in an ancient mythical China sets out on an adventure-filled quest to improve her family’s fortune, with help along the way from a friendly dragon.
- The Four Immigrants: An American Manga Musical (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, 2017)
The musical, based on Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama’s “Manga Yonin Shosei,” follows four Japanese immigrants living in San Francisco during the turn of the century. Leslie Martinson will direct.
- The Song Of The Nightingale: A Musical Fairy Tale (Town Hall Theatre, 2017)
When Mei Lin, an ambitious kitchen-maid, hears that the Emperor of China is searching for the Nightingale – the bird whose song brings hope to the people of the land, she offers to help find and capture the bird in exchange for a lofty promotion. This transaction has tragic consequences, however, as Mei Lin soon learns that the Emperor is a foolish ruler who cannot see beyond the bird’s plain outer appearance. Based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Song of the Nightingale is a magical, musical romp that reminds us that true beauty and worth is always found within.
- Gold, The Midas Musical (Bay Area Children’s Theatre, 2019)
GOLD: The Midas Musical follows the story of King Midas who, after the death of his wife, hardens his heart and turns to greed for solace. When Dionysus, the god of having a good time, offers him the power of the Golden Touch, Midas can’t refuse. Only his daughter Lydia believes that the King can return to the man he used to be, and she’ll do everything in her power to get her father back. Using contemporary pop and musical theatre styles, this energized and expanded re-telling of the Greek myth invites parents and children to remember that nothing can replace the value of your family.
- Kinda Home
Book & Lyrics by Brad Erickson
Music & Lyrics by Min Kahng
Milt and Alice like to think of themselves as a spry, independent couple living a good life in Charleston, SC, but their adult children Brent and Julie are starting to see their parents’ increasing need for assistance. With a country-music-infused score, Kinda Home explores how the pressures of elder care simultaneously draw the disparate family together and threaten to upturn their lives and tear them apart. This story sprang from the lived experience of Brad Erickson’s own parents.
- Calafia: A Reimagining
A New Play by Min Kahng
Based on The Adventures of Esplandian by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo
The mythical island of California was said to be ruled over by Queen Calafia – a black, Amazonian, warrior queen who led her people into an epic battle in a foreign land. In my stage adaptation, I hope to breathe life into this fascinating-but-obscure figure and examine what it means for an isolated society to decide to venture beyond its borders into the rest of the world.
- Inside Out & Back Again
Based on the National Book Award-winning novel by Thanhha Lai
Stage Adaptation by Min Kahng
Ten-year-old Hà and her family flee from Vietnam to Alabama, where she dreams of her beloved papaya tree and struggles to adjust in a strange new land. Thanhha Lai’s award-winning book of poetry comes to life in this on-stage retelling of a young girl and her family’s journey to find a new home.
- Bad Kitty On Stage!
Stage Adaptation by Min Kahng
Original music composed by Min Kahng
Based on the Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel
A co-commission by Bay Area Children’s Theatre & Oregon Children’s TheatreStraight from the pages of the wildly popular Bad Kitty comic book series: here Kitty sprawls, in solitary splendor, until one day . . . (loud hissing) PUPPY! Uh oh. And then . . . (hair on back standing on end) a MOUSE! And then. . . well, let’s just say life gets complicated.
Asian Canadian playwright
- Bachelor Man (Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto) 1987
- Letters to Wu (Firehall Theatre, Vancouver) 1989
- Via The Rockies (CBC Radio) 1990
- Isiah (Go For Broke Festival, 1996)
A vampire play with a twist. Kam’s vampire is an immigrant seeking refugee status in Canada.
Kamani, Ginu (with Joel Tan)
- The Cure (AATC, 2003)
Set in Hollywood in 1993, The CURE blends Indian spirituality into a gripping romantic tale entrenched in the AIDS crisis. The CURE weaves the story of Winston Chao as the “new face of AIDS” battling with his viatical-digging lover Harmony at a the Living OM weekend retreat run by Jeanne and Polly . Elvis, who descends from the heavens as the Indian spiritual god, Shiva, represents the both the beacon of hope and messenger of loss as those mortal on earth struggle to find a cure for AIDS.
A graduate of the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins University and the MFA program in playwriting at the New School for Drama, Mrinalini Kamath recently received a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts to develop Everyone’s Got Something to Lose. She was twice a Ma-Yi Writers Lab/UW Mellon Creative Initiative Fellow at the School of Drama in Seattle, where she developed her play Let There Be Love. Mrinalini was also featured at Stage Left Theatre in Chicago as the Downstage Left resident playwright and a LeapFEST workshop participant with The New Deal, her play about a partnership formed by prison corporations and big pharma, which received an honorable mention on the 2016 Kilroys List.
She was twice a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Theater Conference with her plays BOOM and The Nava Jeevan, which was also a semi-finalist for The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. Her play Celestial Motions, about Indian astrology and modern arranged marriage, was the inaugural winner of East/West Players “Got Laughs?” comedy play competition and was translated into Marathi and performed in India. Her short plays and monologues have been published in several Smith and Kraus anthologies as well as playscripts.com. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the Queens-based Mission to (Dit)mars Propulsion Lab, The PlayGround Experiment, and an alumna of Youngblood, Ensemble Studio Theatre‘s emerging playwrights lab.
- Boom! (SALAAM!, 2001) a one act
Ashok and Sheela, an Indo-American couple, are visiting India for a relative’s wedding. On New Year’s Eve, amid fireworks and gastro-intestinal problems, they realize that they have very different feelings when it comes to ethnic identity.
Harold, a gay urban professional, visits an urban shaman in the hopes of ridding himself of the half-woman half-rabbit succuba that visits him nightly.
- The Some of All Parts
After four successful dates, Margaret invites Jonathan back to her apartment. Once there, though, Jonathan seems to be interested in anything but sex. All is explained when an unexpected guest shows up. A farce in ten minutes.
“Hell hath no fury like a [muse] scorned.”
- Sweet Dreams, Baby
Grace, a thirty-something bookseller, wakes up one night to find that the “man of her dreams,” has materialized. But as things start going wrong, Grace realizes that there are some things that even the perfect man can’t fix.
- Hart’s Palpitations (co-written, with music by Matthew S. Anderson)
A ten-minute musical that takes place in a clinic for the treatment of love-related injuries. Can Dr. Hart overcome his previous bad experience with love, save his love-struck patient and finally notice the loyal Nurse O’Plasty – all in ten minutes? Written as part of Raw Impressions Musical Theatre event number seventeen (RIMT 17 – “love by degrees”).
Gina, a Westchester housewife, visits her Aunt Loretta in Brooklyn, after Loretta’s brother Frank passes away. While clearing out Frank’s room, Gina comes across something that could cause a potentially explosive situation.
- Confessions from the Afterlife
Steven and Rahul, 18-year-old best friends in life, meet in the afterlife, where one has a lot of explaining to do.
David and Diane were high school sweethearts who married after Diane became pregnant. Now they live in a cramped studio apartment in Manhattan, where Diane takes care of their two-year old son. When David announces that his boss has fired him, the couple spirals into an argument that forces them to reevaluate their married life together.
- Celestial Motions (SALAAM, 2004)
What happens when 25-year-old Leela’s parents (immigrants from India) realize that they forgot to take daylight savings time into account when they had her Hindu astrological chart drawn at her birth. They have it redrawn, and the startling prediction sets the young woman on a journey of arranged dating and cyber romance, as her parents desperately try to control her fate. Little do they realize that Leela’s destiny is closer than they (or Leela, for that matter) think. An intercultural romantic comedy.
- Sloppy Second Chances (Ensemble Theatre, 2009)
When Amita, a business-like thirty-something when it comes to dating, meets her latest desi website suitor, the seemingly strange Nikhil, will she chalk him up as another bad date or is there something more going on? A short comedy about two people who want the same thing but have completely different game plans.
- The White Knight (Ma-Yi, 2009)
The White Knight is a about a guy named Eric, a graduate teaching assistant who is teaching Don Quixote as part of a freshman intro. class. He falls for Mina, an Indian-American art appraiser when her phone is stolen on the subway. But when Mina brings him home to meet her family, he finds himself drawn to her sister Tina, a pediatrician who has sworn off relationships after her first one went sour. Intercut with scenes from a student paper on Don Quixote, The White Knight is about following your ideals, however misplaced they may be.
- How May I Help You? (Ma-Yi, 2011)
At the height of the Great Recession things seem to be going in a downward spiral at a theater ticket services office, until a mysterious stranger appears.
- Let There Be Love (Ma-Yi, 2017; Centerstage 2020)
A mash-up of D.H. Lawrence’sSons and Lovers, the Greek myth Eros and Psyche, and online dating and modern matchmaking. DeeDee, a supposed widow who never remarried and hates online dating sites and algorithms, runs a high-end matchmaking business with her son, Eric. Eric has relations, not relationships, until he meets Sylvia. Sylvia, orphaned as a teenager and now an art gallery owner, applies to the agency. Eric, hires Rajesh, an evolutionary psychologist and self-described “algorithm automechanic,” to help him come up with an artificial gut to make him more sure of himself. Rajesh finds both Eric and DeeDee (especially DeeDee) just fascinating. A play about alternately craving and fearing intimacy and connection.
- Everyone’s Got Something To Lose [working title]
Under the shadow of an Executive Order banning homosexuals from adopting, Manika, an Indian-American pediatrician and former Spelling Bee contestant, is having a baby with Jeanette and a sperm donor Who Shall Not Be Named. Returning from a baby shower, the women are surprised by Manika’s friend Adam, an actor released from his Finian’s Rainbow gig, dumped by his boyfriend, and in need of a place to stay. As Adam tries to get his life back together, he tunes more and more of the real world out, causing friction with both women. A play about how different levels of privilege are experienced between friends, and what that does to friendship.
- Stuff: A Radio Play
Inspired by the NY Times article “The Lonely Death of George Bell,” STUFF tells the story of lives that intersect when a man dies alone in his cluttered apartment. A play about living alone in modern times.
- The New Deal
Inmate 2 didn’t mean to kill anyone. He’s just a white collar thief, after all, but he panicked, and he’s not a murderer. He’s a survivor, which is why he chooses what the government is calling The New Deal. The New Deal explores a time in the not-too-distant future where prison corporations and pharmaceutical companies form a dangerous collaboration.
- The Nava Jeevan by Life suddenly starts to shift at the Nava Jeevan, an Indian beauty salon in suburban NJ, with the arrival of a new hair dresser.
Ana, formerly a Wall Street executive assistant, has been on unemployment for a little too long, so she goes in search of work to the framing section of a chain craft store. Through attitude and socio-economic reality, Ana starts to bond with John, the embittered, strait-laced assistant manager, and Gary, the resident stoner, but not everyone is what they appear to be in the Frame Shop.
- Ghost of a Character
The writer wants to sit and write about his favorite subject of the moment, but continues to be haunted by his most popular character, whom the public loves, but he dislikes.
Kan, Lila (music by Louis Stewart)
- Shanghai Lil’s (Pan Asian, 1997)
A musical, set in a stand-in for the Forbidden City, on the Chop Suey Circuit.
Hiro is currently Playwright-in-Residence with Vancouver’s Rumble Productions and is working on a new play which imagines the adult life of “Trouble,” Pinkerton and Cio-Cio-san’s love-child from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Hiro’s previous play Tiger of Malaya, meanwhile, is being translated into Japanese by award-winning translator, Toyoshi Yoshihara. Recent screen work includes story editing for Da Vinci’s City Hall and a writing credit on the season finale. He also recurs on the show as Fire Captain Roy Komori.
- Cyberia (Go For Broke Festival, 1996)
A Bermuda Triangle comedy.
- Slants (EWP)
- Tiger of Malaya (Factory Theatre, Toronto, 2003)
Hiro Kanagawa’s script examines the post–WWII trial of Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita. Yamashita was military governor of the Philippines for the last year of the war. During that time, Japanese troops committed numerous atrocities against the Filipino population, and in the trial, Yamashita was held responsible for them. In Tiger of Malaya, Kanagawa makes a compelling case that the court proceedings were nothing but a trumped-up spectacle used to justify American general Douglas MacArthur’s desire for revenge against a defeated opponent.
- Trouble and Joy (Rumble Theatre, 2006)
- When Tigers Smoked Long Pipes (East West, 2001)
Tales of transformation adapted from favorite traditional Korean folktales such as Sister Sun, Brother Moon; The Woodcutter and the Heavenly Maiden; The Blind Man’s Daughter; and others.
- Dublin (AATC, 2009)
An exploration of father/daughter relationships and the likelihood of finding romance and a good used elephant in San Jose, California.
- A Wife of Buddha (NAATAK, 2015)
A Wife of Buddha weaves together the ancient legend of Yasodhara, the woman Siddharta abandoned to follow a path to spiritual enlightenment, and the modern-day story of Carla Medina, a sculptor in San Francisco who is depicting the tale of Sidhartha and Yasodhara in her work. When Carla’s husband, a Korean-German adoptee, discovers his birth father is alive and is a Buddhist monk in Korea, the marriage falters, leading Carla to question her own path in life.
Kang, M. J.
M.J. Kang is a playwright and actor based in Toronto. She’s been everything from a sound designer to stage manager to an assistant director. Her plays include Noran Bang: The Yellow Room (Cahoots Theatre Projects) and where she was writer on the collective Urban Donnellys (Theatre Passe Muraille).
- Hee Hee: Tales From The Diamond Mountain (Blyth Festival Theatre)
- Noran Bang: The Yellow Room (Cahoots, 1998)
M.J. Kang’s child’s-eye view of a Korean family’s emigration to Canada. The play, inspired by a memory fragment, starts off full of dreams and ancestral memories, recalling that time in childhood when reality, dream and hallucination are equally real.
- dreams of blonde & blue (Cahoots Theatre Projects and Theatre Passe Muraille January 2002)
In a failing New York City restaurant, a man dreams of returning to Korea to become Prime Minister decades after leaving. His wife laments a lost career in science and comforts herself with fashionable clothes. Their daughter tries desperately to find love and acceptance while refusing to be a dutiful receptacle for her parent’s fantasies. With humour and compassion, M.J. Kang draws a compelling portrait of a family struggling to escape the past and embrace the future.
- Corner. Store. Riot. (Cornerstone Theatre, 2002)
In South Central, the Lees, a Korean family and owners of a mom & pop shop, watch as their dreams of prosperity clash with reality as tensions mount with their African American neighbors in the months prior to Sa-i-gu or 4/29. Though fictional, it is based on extensive research and interviews.
- Questioning Condoms
- Sincerely Single (EWP, 2005)
A comedy about a carelessly single gal looking for love in all the right places and still coming up short.
- Lawrence, Lori, Lana and Linda (EWP, 2007)
One man. Three women. The possibilities (and complications) are limitless.
In 2004-05 she was a Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center. Aditi’s playwriting credits include Gotama for Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, March 2006, The Deaf Duckling, a bilingual (ASL & English) educational touring show about growing up Deaf, created in collaboration with Deaf performer Nic Zapko for Mixed Blood Theater, and The Adventures of Hanuman, King of the Monkeys, a Bollywood style musical inspired by tales from the Ramayana for SteppingStone Theater for Youth Development (March 2006).
Aditi’s directing credits include Queen of the Remote Control, Bill of (W)Rights, and The Primary English Class at Mixed Blood Theater. She has performed at a variety of Twin Cities theaters including Mixed Blood, Jungle Theater, Eye of the Storm, Park Square, and The Playwrights’ Center.
- The Deaf Duckling (PlayLabs 2004)
A one-act educational play about growing up Deaf, created in collaboration with Deaf Performer, Nic Zapko.
- Love Person (Playwright’s Center, 2005)
A four part love story in Sanskrit, ASL and English, Through Sanskrit, American Sign Language, and English, two sisters and their partners search for human contact and for love. Is it possible for two languages to fall in love, or for love to survive without communication? And does sex really trump words?
- The Courbet Cure (Thirst Theater, Produced Spring 2006)
- Cirkus Kalashnikov (Emigrant Theater, 2006)
A 10-minute play about an immigrant Bulgarian subway driver with a tendency to kill people.
- The Adventures of Hanuman, King of the Monkeys (SteppingStone Theater, 2006)
A Bollywood-style musical re-telling of the central story in the Ramayana from the perspective of Hanuman the mischievous monkey.
- Buck the Rider (Thirst Theater, Produced Winter 2007)
- Messy Utopia, The Ballad of Accountant Jo (Mixed Blood Theatre, 2007).
One of 5 short plays about the biracial experience, created in collaboration with Velina Hasu-Houston, Naomi Iizuka, Seema Sueko, and Janet Allard.
- Starling Project (Temporary Title) (by Rhodope Theater Collective, Bulgaria, 2008)
A play with music, motion, and many languages about immigrants in America. Work-in-progress.
- Invigorate the Common Well, Part 2: Beneath The Surface (In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, 2008)
A circus-style puppet play about the quality and privatization of water.
- Gotama: A Journey to the Buddha (In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, 2008)
A play about the early life of Siddhartha Gotama, created in collaboration with Andrew Kim and Masanari Kawahara
- Chitrangada: The Girl Prince (Steppingstone, 2008)
A one-act play for youth in iambic verse. Adapted loosely from a brief incident in the Mahabharata, and the dance drama by Rabindranath Tagore.
- Agnes Under the Big Top, a tall tale
Exploring the intersecting lives of immigrants in a US city, this magical tale of hope and disappointment, identity and reinvention, is narrated by an itinerant subway busker.
- Orange (South Coast Repertory Theatre, 2017)
Leela is different. A teenager from India, she sketches life’s important moments in her journal, and she’s about to go on an adventure through Orange County. When a family wedding gets boring, her rebellious cousin decides to make a run for it with her boyfriend—taking Leela along. As they careen through the night, Leela challenges their view of her—and each other. A touching story about a unique young woman’s search for her place in the world.
- Imogen Says Nothing (Yale Repertory Theatre)
A revisionist comedy in verse and prose telling the tale of Imogen: a character who only appears in the first folio of William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, speaks no lines, and is probably a typo. A feminist hijacking of Shakespeare that investigates the voices that have been absented from our canon, and the consequences of cutting them.
- The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy
- Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show
Directed by Jeremy Cohen
This hilarious stand-up comedy routine/play takes on history, mythology, gender roles, and high school through the distinct comic lens of Brahman/i: an intersex boy/girl tethered by neither gender nor culture, and wildly curious and inventive in his/her examination of both.
- The Chronicles of Kalki
Directed by Bruce A. Young
A comic-book infused girl-gang thriller chronicles the adventures of Kalki, a young girl who may or may not be the final Avatar of Vishnu, come to rid the world of demons and evil.
Directed by Risa Brainin
Exploring the psychological residue of post-colonialism, Shiv is a fantastical journey to liberation from one’s past, from one’s present, and of the destruction that makes rebirth possible.
- Oh, Sweet Sita (Tara Arts, 1997)
East meets West to create a combustible collision of high comedy and outrageous incident in Oh Sweet Sita. Non-Asian audiences might not know that Liverpool writer/director Ravi Kapoor has adapted his play from the classic Indian text The Ramayana, which tells the story of a young woman who expires after being unjustly accused of infidelity.
- The Prince of Delhi Palace (Disha Theatre, 2002)
The story of Hamlet set in a curry house. Following a father’s demise by a poisoned pickle and a motherís remarriage to the fatherís twin, a son searches for one good memory of the dead man’s worth amongst the turmeric stained dishes, the pungent losses and the salted scars he left behind. But in the process can he remain true to his own values or will he just become “…his father’s little monster. The offspring of his stain?”
- The Grapevine (NWAAT, 1993)
- The Camp Dance: The Music and the Memories (Grateful Crane Ensemble, 2004)
Set in an internment camp during World War II, the two-hour show features popular songs and dances of the 1940s, along with vignettes based on interviews with former internees. The show is not set in a specific camp, since all held dances.
- The Betrayed (Grateful Crane Ensemble, 2010)
Grace is a sophisticated city girl, a college student, from Seattle while Tak is a bumpkin from rural California. Despite their differences, they fall in love. Typical. But this takes place behind a barbed wire fence, in the WWII Japanese American camps. Even there, the relationship grows until it hits a snag: loyalty questions 27 and 28.
Forty years later they meet again. Both have had a difficult life. All are consequences of the incarceration, especially of the loyalty questions 27 and 28.
- Garage Door Opener (Grateful Crane Ensemble, 2017)
a Japanese American dysfunctional family play. This play will bring smiles and laughter to baby boomer Sansei who grew up in a uniquely JA family environment.
Keshni Kashyap was raised in Los Angeles by Indian parents. She attended Berkeley where she studied Literature and started making experimental videos and documentaries. After spending a year working for veteran indie director Wayne Wang, Keshni enrolled in UCLA’s Directing Program where she wrote and directed four short films, including Hole (2002) and Good Thing (2004), which have both been recipients of UCLA Spotlight Awards.
Her films from both UCLA and Berkeley have screened in over thirty festivals worldwide. Keshni has traveled all over the world, especially in South East Asia, where much of her extended family still lives. She credits her high school photography teacher for showing her, early in life, how to frame a shot, and wants to make story driven films that explore people’s internal and imaginary lives. She is currently working on two feature length projects, both darkly comic in nature. She lives in Venice, California.
- That’s the Noise (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
Three young women look for love in the mysterious world of urban opportunity.
- A Story of Sadako (Youth Theater Northwest, 2002)
The story of a young Japanese girl who was infected with the A-Bomb disease. Sadako folded a thousand paper cranes as an offering to her prayer for a prolonged life. Experience her story as her family and friends helped create the well known memorial in Hiroshima. A symbol of struggle for life and the prayer for peace that has traveled around the globe. (Children’s Theatre)
is an artist and activist who is currently content with the categorizations of performance artist, writer, actress, arts producer, and teacher. With a true love for collaborative and ensemble work, she and her partners, Kennedy Kabasares and Edren Sumagaysay, tour the country with their theatrical piece, “zero 3 – stage and spoken word superheroes.” She also enjoys creating and performing with other partners and collectives, including work with visual artist and writer, phloe; the Women of the Balagtasan Collective; and Great Leap’s Collaboratory project.
Her written work appears in newspapers, journals, zines, and books including The Rafu Shimpo, Gidra, The Manzanar Committee’s “Keep It Going – Pass It On”, and Regent Press’ “An Eye for An Eye Makes the Whole World Blind – Poets on 9/11.” She has also had the great fortune of working as a teacher and director with such groups as Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach; Eskuwela Kultura in Historic Filipinotown; the PAPAYA program in Alhambra; and most recently, alongside Nobuko Miyamoto with college students from the Hmong community at the University of Wisconsin.
A firm believer in art as a means for building community, traci is the founder and producer of the Tuesday Night Cafe Project in Little Tokyo. “Tuesday Nights” aims to: provide an ever-evolving, multi-disciplinary arts venue in Little Tokyo; gather together Asian American and other local L.A. artists from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences; draw a diverse audience of people into Downtown L.A. on a regular basis; and provide an impassioned, positive atmosphere that lends itself to (/begs for!) honest artistic creativity, progressive-beyond-P.C. self-expression, and risk-taking for emerging artistry.
- Chasing Dad (Ford Amphitheatre, 2006)
Staring into the faces of birth, death and regret, a daughter realizes and discovers her spirit and true power.
- I.N. (Mu Performing Arts, 2010)
Two artists. Two bridges. One Peace Park. Using drawing, storytelling, music, and tea, puppeteer and performer Masanari Kawahara explores the links between his childhood in Hiroshima and the work of Isamu Noguchi, a prominent Japanese American artist. Masa’s journey of becoming a Japanese artist in America is mirrored by Isamu’s journey of embracing his Japanese heritage as an American artist. The two meet on a bridge between country, identity, and philosophy to sip tea and tell stories.
- Persimmons in Winter (Yale, 1998)
- Samsara (East West 2001)
A warrior woman. A comfort woman. A modern woman. Three women tied by Karma, navigating through the turbulent seas of…Samsara
- Shipwreck’d on the Body Beautiful (Kumu Kahua, 2019)
James F. O’Connell, America’s first Tattooed Man, headlined P. T. Barnum’s freak show, proudly displaying his head-to-foot tattoos. Shipwrecked on the Caroline Islands in the first half of the 19th century, O’Connell saved himself from death by performing Irish jigs—and so began the slow process of his assimilation into Ponapean culture. Based on a true story, this poetic one-man show recounts a compelling narrative of physical appropriation.
Kellog, Thomas Dean
- One Day in the Nuclear Age (EWP, 2009)
A satirical look at the demise of the nuclear family from the eyes of the people of the future.
- Yellow Jell Baby ()
a womb-eye-view of three generations of Chinese-Americans in California that are afraid of change. The third generation, still in utero, refuses to be born, preferring to remain in the womb to enjoy his powers of communicating with the living, unborn and dead and to avoid being discriminated against because of his bi-racial ancestry. Old Wang, the grandfather, is lost in the past, while Edmund, his son, romanticizes it. Molly is afraid to have the baby because she fears motherhood. The discovery of a demon among them who plans to steal their future if they do not face change provides the impetus for this family to face the inevitable.
- The PC Laundromat (Young Playwrights Festival, 1992)
- Double Auntie Waltz (Immigrant Theatre, 1999)
A full-length work in which, recovering from a romantic crisis, Lorna Ong visits her two elderly aunts in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and has encounters with ghosts, a junta general, and a sex-crazed chiropractor.
- Happy Valley (Mu Performing Arts, 2005)
Life in Hong Kong for 13-year-old Tuppy and her guardian uncle is a magnificent world of horse racing, chinchillas and make believe. But as the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to mainland China looms, their untraditional family must scramble to devise an exit strategy. At once a charming comedy and a complex drama, Happy Valley explores racism between Asian ethnic groups, the struggles of adolescence, and the life changing nature of emigration.
- Fayette-Nam (AATC, 2009)
Set on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, a troubled Asian American woman returns to her family’s donut/egg roll shop in the army town of Fayetteville, North Carolina. During one momentous night, she tries to iron out her relationship with her mother and meets a young African American army private about to be deployed to Iraq. All three try to connect despite uncertainty of the future, and the soft-spoken racism and claustrophobia of those stuck on the fringes of military life.
- Unaccessorized (Peeling, 2003)
A gay Filipino diva escapes the cornfields of Illinois and begins a coast-to-coast odyssey among millionaires, con artists and salmon-colored fabrics.
- Ixnay (East West, 2009)
Raymond Kobayashi was in the prime of his sansei life when he goes up to Heaven. But when he finds out he’s been arranged return to his Next Life as a Japanese American again, Raymond flat out refuses. Come watch this comedy about an Underachieving Asian who causes major havoc at the Reincarnation Station when he ixnays his Next Life.
- The Long Arm Of Stanley Matsui (East West, 2008)
As an official for a local basketball organization, young Stanley Matsui is assigned to monitor a group of rowdy parents and family members of the 7th grade girls Tsunami Ladybugs. A comedy where there’s more action in the bleachers than on the court.
- Wrinkles (EWP, 2009)
Unbeknownst to his own daughter and grandson, 73 year-old Harry Fukutani is an internet sensation. But in order to view his work, you have to turn off the parental filter and have a valid credit card. A sticky comedy about sex, lies and Tiger Balm.
- Slice (Metamorphosis Theater, 2012)
- Set in 14th century Japan, struggling swordsmith Kai Matsuda want to forge the perfect samurai sword. Unfortunately, he’s on a tight deadline, lost his creative punch and trying not to think about Fumi Tanaka. A comedy about love, art and some serious banging.
- The Donger (East West Players, DHHWI Reading, 2013)
A hostage/comedy about a disgruntled Asian American actor who kidnaps Gedde Watanabe and demands that he apologize for his unforgiveable role in Sixteen Candles.
- The Gambling Den ()
Born in Korea, received an M.A. degree in theater arts from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has written and produced a number of television programs, including “Koreans in L.A.,” and “Poets in Profile.” She received Emmy nominations for her work as co- producer of “Korea,” a 23-part news series, and “Korea: The New Power in the Pacific,” a one-hour news documentary for KCBS-TV.
Her full-length play Hanako (earlier version of Comfort Women) had a World Premiere at East West Players in Los Angeles in 1999. Ms. Kim is the author of Chungmi–Selected Poems; her second book of poems, Glacier Lily, was recently published by Red Hen Press. Her poems and articles have appeared in many journals and anthologies.
- Hanako (East West, 1999) (Revised title: Comfort Women)
During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Forces drafted more than two hundred thousand women from Asian countries, the majority from Korea, and forced them to serve as sex slaves known as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers. Hanako is an emotional story of the Korean “comfort women” who suffered in silence, as their stories remained buried for decades.
Kim, David Johann
- Pang Spa (Gary Marshall Theatre, 2019)
On the outskirts of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Daniel Pang has been caring for his dementia addled parents, Tae and Avy, for 3 years since his older brother David committed suicide. Their neighbors, Mrs. Weiss, a Japanese American “bubbe” and Yong, a minimum wage warrior and Tai Chi aficionado make up the rest of this idiosyncratic enclave, when a flinty young army vet (Dora) arrives on a mission. PANG SPA is a place where despite dementia, depression, suicides and the violation & violence of The ’92 LA Riots, healing can, at least, begin. Intended for an adult audience, may contain adult language and situations.
- My Tired Broke Ass Pointificating Slapstick Funk (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
It’s a story about Eric who is plagued by old men with little dogs, mysterious fuzzy slippers, arrogant video store clerks, and angry Asian actors. He hasn’t been right since he traded insults with Karen in the men’s room of that club in Koreatown. How is this generAsian 1.5’er going to get out of his tired broke ass funk?
- Karaoke Stories (Second Generation Productions, 1999)
Karaoke Stories spoofs, parodies, and satirizes everything from romantic comedies, directors Quentin Tarantino and John Woo, samurais, and the screenwriting process itself. The stories come to life on stage as Eric, a twisted but idealistic Korean American writer, and his wannabe filmmaker friend Jeff spend an evening at a coffee house unveiling their dark opus, Karaoke Stories, “a film consisting of six or seven fucked-up stories of love, taking place in a shithole karaoke bar (rehab for the emotionally retarded).” They narrate, improvise, rewrite, and meditate on the extremes people will go to in search of love in this wonderfully outrageous play.
- The Model American (Williamstown Theatre, 2017)
“Gay, Latino, young and unapologetically ambitious, Gabriel (Hiram Delgado) arrives in New York seeking work, friendship, love and mentorship. But, before he can move forward, he must honestly determine if he is running toward success or away from what he left behind.” Developed at WTF under the auspices of the Bill Foeller Fellowship Program in 2016, The Model American asks: what is the price we are willing to pay for a new life?
- Clarity (Ma-Yi, 2018)
A light. A ball. An organ. When his sister resurfaces after a decade of silence, Danny must decide if he should put his faith in God or risk his life for family. A play about faith in contemporary life, Clarity examines what it means to deal with a higher power.
- UN (Pan Asian, 2017)
(a completely true story of the rise of Kim Jong Un) pulls back the curtain on the madman tyrant to fill the gaps between the little we know about his life and actions. Beneath the sculpted horn like hair, there was once a boy who wanted to be Michael Jordan. Meet Kim Jong Un. If we look beyond our fear of North Korean caricatures, what might we find?
Kim, Lucy J.
- 30 (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- Leon & Clark (Moving Arts, 2000) A quickfire and robust comedy about two brothers grieving for their mother, soon to meet each other for the first time in seventeen years. Their sparky and combative relationship gives rise to some great gags, but is at heart deeply touching.
Kim, Nic Cha
- A Taste of Home (Berkeley Community Theatre, 1996)
- Trans Sans (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- Point (Lodestone, 2006)
When the lead actress drops out before the final scene is shot, two filmmakers go “on the road” in search of a new ending. When the world starts to collapse all around them, they find shelter in a country bumpkin, a magician and a runaway. Do they find their ending? Yah, well, sort of… if you can call it that.
- Hyperbola (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
Lang thinks his wife is gay. Mary thinks Lang is cheating on her. Mary’s best friend thinks Lang is hot. Lang’s psychiatrist thinks they’re all crazy. It’s usually bad timing to quit smoking when your marriage is failing. Don’t worry-we can help you.
- Trapezoid (Lodestone, 2007)
Peter is a poet in a relationship with a wonderful woman. When scientists at a technology think tank fail to create the first true artificially intelligent life-form, they enlist his help as a last resort. A scientific slam, Peter’s work results with unexpected consequences as AIMEE 2.1 is re-launched. There’s only one thing more dangerous than a poet in love: the bastard born of it.
- Re-verse (Lodestone, 2008)
David’s ten-year high school reunion is coming up and he’ll go to great lengths to make an impression. One Act.
Kim, Richard R.
- The Magnificent Marginal Man (East West, 2011)
When sinister experiments in Angel City start turning Asian men into desexualized nerds and Asian women into self-loathing bananas, MARGINAL MAN, a reluctant Asian American superhero, must join forces with FOXY KIM, to find the supervillain responsible before his experiments wipe Asians everywhere off the face of the Earth.
- A Dream Called Laundry
It is a story of a former comfort woman whose only daughter is about to elope with her Japanese boyfriend who, it turns out, is the son of the comfort woman’s lover (a Japanese soldier) during the war. The daughter may or may not be her boyfriend’s sister.
- Remember When… (AACT, 2004)
- A young, Filipino man, who, after having been away to college, returns to his community and visits his high school friend. This is a revealing look at the college-graduate’s dilemma of returning in hopes of searching for what he left behind once.
Kneubuhl, Victoria Nalani
Playwright Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl was born in Honolulu of Samoan, Hawaiian and Caucasian descent. She has been actively involved in producing many community programs which reflect the unique history and lifestyle of her island home. In 1994, she was honored with the Hawai’i Award for Literature, the highest literay award in the State of Hawai’i, and in 2001, she was named one of the Extraordinary Women of Hawai’i by the Foundation for Hawaii Women’s History and the Native Hawaiian Library of ALU LIKE, Inc. As a playwright, she has had twelve plays produced, several of which have toured Great Britain, the U.S., the Pacific and Asia. She has also written documentary scripts for Hawai’i Public Television.
- The Conversion of Ka’ahumanu (Kumu Kahuna, 1988)
- Tofa Samoa (Okinawa International Children’s Theatre Festival, 1994)
Tofa Samoa (“Goodbye Samoa”) is the story of 11 year old Sela and her 12 year old brother Tanu, whose family decides to moce from Samoa to Honolulu. Through the character of their grandmother, who remains behind in Samoa, but whose stories and memories Tanu and Sela carry with them to Honolulu, the young people learn to draw pride and strength from their heritage to help them cope with their new life. Understanding how important family and heritage are in each of our lives, and how pride in those factors can help us through the most difficult times, are ideas which serve as the basis for the play.
- Ola Na Iwi (The Bones Live) (Kumu Kahua, 1994)
It’s not “who done it?” – we know that right away. It’s what happens afterwards that’s a mystery. Kawehi discovers Hawaiian bones at a German museum that call out to her, so she takes them back to Hawaii. She is pursued by Gustav, who hires Fatu and Mina, private investigators, to help him locate and retrieve the bones. When Pua, Kawehi’s former boss, finds out about the bones, she wants them too, but what is her motive? But the bones seem to have a life and purpose of their own, guiding Kawehi to help achieve this goal. Kneubuhl has woven history and culture and entwined them into a mystery with intriguing subplots.
- Kai’iulani ()
- Emmalehua (InterACT, 2003)
It’s 1951, Hawaii. Emmalehua is caught up in the trend sweeping Hawaii, being American. She has forsaken the hula, which her half sister, Maelyn has embraced. The time has come for her to make a choice of being American, like her husband Alika, or being Hawaiian as she was raised by her father, Kaheka. Into this pictures comes Clearwater, a Native American from the mainland working for her husband.
- The Story of Susanna (UC Berkeley, 2003)
- Fanny and Belle (Kumu Kahua, 2004)
Many of us are familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of such widely acclaimed novels as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island and Kidnapped. Few are aware of the life of his wife, Fanny Osbourne, and her daughter Belle—free-spirited, strong-willed and courageous at a time when these character traits were not common (or particularly welcome) in American women, Fanny and her daughter traveled independently from Indiana to San Francisco, France, Hawai’i, Australia and Samoa. Using poetic language, weaving episodes through time and space and employing a cast of characters playing multiple roles, playwright Kneubuhl transforms a fascinating biography into a mesmerizing theatrical experience.
- The Holiday of Rain (Kumu Kahua, 2011)
At the Sadie Thompson Inn in Samoa, guests can take part in an unusual experience: a reenactment of W. Somerset Maugham’s 1921 short story “Rain.” But thanks to a magician’s time warp, the real Maugham finds himself on the guest list. Swirling together fantasy, history, humor and drama, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, winner of the Hawai‘i Award for Literature and the author of The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu and Ola N? Iwi, deconstructs one of the world’s most popular writers.
He is the Executive Director of Circle East (formerly the Circle Rep Lab) and a cofounder and trustee of the Tides Foundation – India Fund, which supports grassroots education and community building efforts among sexually marginalized groups in South Asia.
- What Flavor is Your Slurpee (SALAAM, 2004)
Place: A 7-11 convenience store just outside Wilmhackey, South Dakota. Time: Way past any sensible person’s bedtime.
- Informed Consent (2004)
- Kalighat (2003)
- Gehri Dosti: 5 Short Plays with a South Asian Bent 😉 (2003)
- I Am the Chicken Man, Cluck (SALAAM, 2008)
A 29 year-old Harvard graduate has squandered his adult life and is now employed as a dancing chicken man at a fast food restaurant. In a misguided attempt to save his boss’ brilliant, 17 year-old, Indian daughter from a similar fate, he helps her get a publishing contract, but, inadvertently, pushes her to plagiarize her book.
- Seamless (Scene Dock, 2003)
What are the enduring effects of global war? Seamless stages the persistence of the historical memory of Japanese American internment in generations born AFTER the camps, as shards of family and racial memory pierce the seamless perfection of WOMAN’s life as an Ivy League, corporate lawyer. Surreal, funny, poignant, Seamless is especially resonant in a post-9/11 world.
- But Can He Dance (SDAART, 2003)
Animated by music and a high energy, presentational style, But Can He Dance? chronicles the romantic adventures of SHE, a thirty-something Asian American Everywoman in her quest to find love and the perfect dancing partner. At first dismayed by the ways men stereotype her as an exotic erotic Asian, SHE asks the question, “Can I at least find a man who can dance?” Her picaresque adventures lead her from hip hop to salsa to ballroom to techno, as SHE dances her way through encounters with African American, Latino, Asian American and Caucasian suitors. Along the way, SHE confronts amusing, often wrenching, truths about love, sex, maturity… and the pleasures and dangers of an irresistible dance groove.
- Catching Fireflies with Clown Hands (Lodestone, 2001)
Aimlessly bouncing through his life as a professional clown, the Clown confronts his deepest pains and darkest fears through the relationships in his life, songs from his past, the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and recurring dreams of chasing fireflies.
Kong, Stephanie Keiko (with Tony Pisculli)
- #HaoleBoyfriend (Kumu Kahua, 2021)
Five former math geeks and high school besties reunite fifteen years after they’ve graduated from Pearl City to wrestle with secrets, major life changes and guacamole at their favorite karaoke room. If you requested Lady Marmalade from the DJ at your prom, this play is dedicated to you.
- The Piano (East West, 2016)
An Asian-Jewish-American family collides with music, food, and identity crises, as the death of a Chinese patriarch forces three generations of Asian American women to live under the same roof for the first time. Second place winner of East West Players’ 2042: See Change playwriting competition
- Webster Street Blues (AATC, 1988)
Webster Street Blues is a warm, funny, nostalgic look at the lives of four young Japanese adults growing up in Japan Town. The looming issues of the Vietnam War, redevelopment, interracial relationships, finding a date and bowling, complicate the lives of the four characters. These four characters inhabit Webster Street Blues, a comedy about relationships, love and angst set in San Francisco’s Japan Town in the summer of 1972
- The Sun No Longer Rises in the East (Metamorphisis Theatre, 2007)
The Sun No Longer Rises in the East is an up front and personal look at a part of Chinese History that is controversial, but often overlooked. The story follows Ziyi, an active Christian living in China, in the second half of the twentieth century during the Cultural Revolution. He has been imprisoned and tortured for eighteen years by his childhood friend, Ren for his beliefs and is continually dispirited as he watches the people he comes into contact with destroyed, especially his wife Meishan who loses her faith and hope in life itself as she struggles through the darkness of the Cultural Revolution.
- The Amazing Wedding Race (East West, 2007)
A wedding that never happens, the questionable sexuality of a brother (not really) and inappropriate attractions. Bridezilla and Will & Grace collide to create this farcical comedy.
- Three Steps Back (East West, 2010)
Buddy Christ has started following Cassandra on Twitter. Angela is seconds away from going Lorena Bobbitt on her adulterous husband (unless he commits suicide first). Once you think you’ve pinned down everyone’s quirks, a new perspective will have you retracing your steps in this dark comedy.
- On Caring for the Beast (Disha Theatre, 2001)
When a young writer embarks on the journey of interviewing a reformed torturer, she is led on a path that culminates in the confrontation necessary for the bones to be laid bare and for the redemption of the heart.
- Merchant on Venice (EWP/Lark Theatre, 2003)
Bollywood meets Hollywood in this modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragi-comedy, set in the South Asian community of Culver City, CA. Jitendra has fled Bollywood stardom to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. To secure backing for his “India-Indie film with crossover appeal” he schemes to marry Pushpa, a rich young heiress, and in the process endangers the life of his best friend Devendra by becoming entangled with his nemesis Sharuk.
- As Vishnu Dreams (EWP, 2004)
As Vishnu Dreams is a contemporary adaptation of the epic Hindu poem The Ramayana. The play explores the association of the lightness and darkness of skin with good and evil in the Hindu cosmology by examining the complicated relationship of the “fair” Queen Sita, the “wicked” Ravana and the “hero” Rama. Drawing on materials from Indian classical literature transformed to reflect the contemporary experience of South Asians in Los Angeles, As Vishnu Dreams is an intriguing exploration of the nature of morality, spirituality and the power of myth upon modern culture.
A Canadian of East Indian descent, playwright Sunil Kuruvilla began writing as a child, winning two United Nations’ literary awards for his short stories. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Kuruvilla has since won countless national and international awards including two duMaurier Arts awards recognizing Canada’s best one-act plays.
- Rice Boy (The Public, 2000)
Graceful and potent in its imagery, and rich in its humour and emotional resonance, Rice Boy is a magical coming-of-age journey about Tommy, a twelve-year-old boy caught between the starkly opposite worlds of Canada and East India.
- camera shy (EWP, 2000)
Bad modern romance gone wrong for a new Millennium. Immature material for mature audiences only.
- Doggie Style (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
Mediocrity with pride? A tale of revenge on the “Peter Principle.” Rising to the level of incompetence and other things that float.
- Play; One Night (EWP, 2001)
Playing the ‘relationship’ game at work.
- In the Name of Howard (EWP, 2003)
Couples therapy beyond all boundaries.
- Doggy Doo (EWP, 2005)
Woof Blah, blah-blah. The dog knows everything humans don’t.
- Camera Shy (EWP, 2007)
The power of love language the internet technology lust greed porn stupid people blame.
- Fixtures at an Exhibition (EWP, 2008)
Old people can haz sex. Fo’ shizzel.
- PAiNT! A NeW MuSiCaL (East West, 2010)
When gay meets straight and love meets hate, pantyhose can’t keep them safely tucked. Drag is their life and death is a drag–who has the balls to wear the heels?
- One Night (East West, 2010)
Holy Sh*t! “No womb at the inn” bearly begins to describe this craptabulous holiday tail.
- Good as Dead (East West, 2013)
Death. When it’s the only thing you’re good at.
DAN KWONG is a multimedia performance artist, writer, teacher and visual artist who has been presenting his solo autobiographical work nationally and internationally since 1989. He has performed and taught all across the U.S. and in England, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Canada, China and Mexico. He is recipient of numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, California Community Foundation, Art Matters Inc., Brody Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace, L.A. Cultural Affairs Department, and was twice nominated for the Alpert Award in the Arts.
In 1991 Kwong founded “TREASURE IN THE HOUSE”, L.A.’s first Asian Pacific American performance & visual art series at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA. His first book, “FROM INNER WORLDS TO OUTER SPACE: The Multimedia Performances of Dan Kwong” was published by University of Michigan Press in 2004, and in 2005 he was recognized by the Japanese American Historical Society for outstanding contributions to JA culture and history. He serves as Chairman of the Board for Highways and is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. www.dankwong.com
- * Secrets of the Samurai Centerfielder (Highways, 1989)
- * Tales From The Fractured Tao with Master Nice Guy (Highways, 1991)
- * Monkhood in 3 Easy Lessons (Japan America Theater, L.A. 1993)
- * Correspondence of a Dangerous Enemy Alien (Japan America Theater, 1995)
- * The Dodo Vaccine (Highways, 1996)
- * The Night the Moon Landed on 39th Street (Highways, 1999)
- * The Art of Rice (collaboration) (Japan America Theater, 2003)
- * Sleeping With Strangers (collaboration) (Highways, 2006)
- * It’s Great 2B An American (Barnsdall Gallery Theater, L.A. 2006)
- Show Me Some Stuff (Ford Amphitheatre, 2006), Be Like Water (East West, 2008)
Chicago, 1978. Disco rules. It’s been 5 years since the tragic and untimely death of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. Jenny Fong is a 13-year old Japanese-Chinese-American girl who’s become a street-fighting, ass-kicking, gung-fu/Bruce Lee fanatic. Her best friend is a skinny kid who happens to be named Bruce Lee; a killer on the dance floor but a major nerd on the streets, who Jenny saves from local toughs. While Dad plays it cool, Mom really wishes Jenny would be more of a “normal” girl. When the annual JA community dance arrives, things come to a head between mother and daughter. In the midst of this family drama, the ghost of Bruce Lee appears (in a glass of water) to help Jenny on her journey.