Leviathan Lab Reading of Jessica Huang's PURPLE CLOUD, and the return of The Living Room Series at SoHo Playhouse
Asian American-led creative studio Leviathan Lab (for which Ariel was Founder, and currently serves on its board as its Secretary) has had a busy month of two projects that mobilized the Asian American performing community, and burned with up-to-the-second political fire:
LEVIATHAN LAB PERFORMANCE WORK ONE:
An invited reading of THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN by Jessica Huang
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
Sunday, December 5th, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at Loading Dock Theatre Company, Brooklyn
Ariel played the titular Harry Chin for the reading, as well as serving as co-producer for the project with Leviathan Lab Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino, with generous assistance from Loading Dock Theatre Company.
ABOUT THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN
A haunting, poetic journey of secrets, identity, and family.
1939. Follow the true story of Harry Chin, one of the many Chinese nationals who landed in the U.S. through a loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act. Haunted by the ghosts of his past and provoked by the curiosity of his daughter, Harry is forced to confront his buried secrets. Through leaps of time and space, we experience the abhorrent conditions at Seattle Immigration Station, Harry’s longing for the life he left in China, and the complications of love in a new land. Jessica Huang’s powerful new drama explores the personal and political repercussions of making a group of people “illegal.”
Featuring Judy W. Chen, Ariel Estrada, Leslie Fray, Jessica Henwick, Flordelino Lagundino, and Ricardo Vázquez.
ABOUT JESSICA HUANG
Jessica is a multiracial, Minneapolis-based playwright, recipient of a 2014 Metropolitan Regional Arts’ Council’s Next Step Grant and a 2012 Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center.
Her plays, which explore the complex legacy of the Chinese diaspora and the modern chaos of multiracial identity, have been developed and/or produced in the Twin Cities at Mu Performing Arts, History Theatre, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Red Eye Theater, The Playwrights’ Center, and Pillsbury House Theatre; nationally at A-Squared Theatre Workshop (Chicago), 2g (NYC), the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (D.C.), and the Source Festival (D.C.); and internationally at Yellow Earth Theatre’s Typhoon Festival (London).
Her play Purple Cloud was nominated as one of the best plays written by female playwrights in the past year by LA-based group The Kilroys.
In 2015, she co-founded Other Tiger Productions with her partner Ricardo Vázquez. Through multidisciplinary collaborations, intentional inclusivity and a re-examination of traditional theater practices, Other Tiger Productions brings artists and audiences together to celebrate a global theater experience.
She is a member of the Dramatist Guild and an affiliated writer with The Playwrights’ Center.
She is also a grant proposal writer and consultant with five years of experience that also includes individual donor development, event planning and fundraising.
ABOUT MEI ANN TEO
Mei Ann Teo is a Singaporean theatre/film maker currently based in New York. Her professional work has toured the U.S. and international festivals including Belgium’s Festival de Liege (Lyrics From Lockdown, “Truly polished, meaningful and entertaining” – New York Times), M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Fringe (MiddleFlight, “Stunning” – Scotsman), INFANT Experimental Theatre Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia, Edmonton Fringe Festival, and the Montreal World Film Festival (Not Here). She is the artistic director of The Wandering Fools, whose inaugural production, Caucasian Chalk Circle, is an official selection at the Shanghai International Experimental Theatre Festival (Oct 2013). She has worked with The Public Theater, Berkeley Rep, Theatre of Yugen, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
For seven years, she was the Chair of Drama/Resident Artist at Pacific Union College where she founded a program focused on original ensemble creation and rooted in personal and communal history. She received the Meritorious Service Award for creating Red Books: Our Search for Ellen White, documentary theatre that KQED called “without a doubt a seminal moment in Adventist History”.
Her work, especially in documentary theatre, also extends to China. In Ji’an, the seat of the Cultural Revolution, she made Wo Men Zhe Yang Kai Shi (This is How We Begin), a play about the education system through the eyes of several generations. With factory workers in Shen Zhen, she made Meng Xiang (Dreams), a play about their secret wishes for their lives. With locals in a remote mountain village, she made Fei (Fly), a play dealing with the value of human life. In New York, she has made 19 – a promenade theatrical installation using the essay “19 Days” by Chinese poet Liao Yiwu, published by the Paris Review. She continues her exploration of Liao Yiwu’s life with Go On Living, the stage adaptation of his prison memoir by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig.
As a filmmaker, Teo directed a short documentary entitled Please Listen To Me, about marginalized and at risk youth in Singapore. She co-directed and produced a short film Not Here that received the Singapore Film Commission’s Short Film Grant and was screened internationally. She produced Stop All The Clocks, a feature-length documentary, and she is currently pursuing an MFA in Theatre Directing at Columbia University.
LEVIATHAN LAB PERFORMANCE WORK TWO:
Leviathan Lab Living Room Series: GLASS CEILING
Life Happens in the Living Room
Sunday, December 13th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at The Huron Club, SoHo Playhouse, Manhattan
Glass Ceiling was an AEA approved showcase production.
Choreography by KIMIYE CORWIN.
ABOUT THE PROMPT "GLASS CEILING"
What are the invisible systems of our society that hold people back? We traditionally use the term "glass ceiling" to describe the limitations placed on women for advancement. We look up and see the stars, but when we try to reach them, we hit our heads. To what extent does this kind of barrier also exist for others in our society? How do we engage with people who defend these barriers? And how do we dismantle them?
Co-Star Role on CBS' Hit Series BULL Airs
Ariel's Co-Star Role as "Businessman" on CBS' Hit Series BULL aired on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. EST. Check out the clip as part of my updated reel, above!
Two-week Workshop Run of Leah Nanako Winkler's new play THE ADVENTURES OF MINAMI at The Brick in Brooklyn
Ariel will be appearing in a workshop production of rising playwright Leah Nanako Winkler's new play THE ADVENTURES OF MINAMI: THE ROBOT FROM JAPAN WHO MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE WHEN LONELINESS IS PALPABLE, PART ONE at The Brick in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from December 19 - 30th, directed by Matt Dickson, produced by Nicholas Ward, and featuring fellow cast members Alex Herrald, Elizabeth Zephyrine Mcdonough, Yurika Ohno, Jahna Ferron-Smith, and Merissa Czyz; withlights by Chelsie McPhilimy, and sound by Emily Auciello.
Check out our press release on Broadway World here.
Learn more about Leah Nanako Winkler's writing here.
Click here to purchase tickets to the workshop of THE ADVENTURES OF MINAMI!
Ariel in Rehearsal for Wakka Wakka Production's MADE IN CHINA at 59E59 Theater
Ariel is in rehearsal for Obie Award-winning Wakka Wakka Production's U.S. premiere at 59E59 Theaters of the new musical/puppet theater show MADE IN CHINA written by Gwendolyn Warnock and Kirjan Waage (with help from the MADE IN CHINA ensemble), with music and lyrics by Yan Li, puppets by Mr. Waage, directed by Ms. Warnock and Mr. Waage, and produced by Gabrielle Brechner.
Produced by Wakka Wakka, in co-production with Nordland Visual Theatre, MiNEnsemblet, and The HOP at Dartmouth, MADE IN CHINA begins performances on Tuesday, January 10 for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 19. Opening Night is Sunday, January 15 at 3 PM.
Performances run Tuesday through Thursday at 7 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; and Sunday at 3 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $25 - $60 ($25 - $49 for 59E59 Members).
Along with Ariel, the production also stars Wakka Wakka company members Andy Manjuck and Peter Russo (Metamorphoses, Broadway, 2001 Tony Award-winner for Best Direction by Mary Zimmerman), with Dorothy James, Stephen J. Mark, Charles Pang, Hansel Tan, and Lei Lei Bavoli, with stage management by Mackenzie Blade.
ABOUT THE PLAY
A darkly comedic puppet musical inspired by true events, MADE IN CHINA is a fantastical exploration of human rights, consumerism and American-Chinese relations as told through the unlikely love story between an odd middle-aged American woman and her Chinese ex-pat neighbor.
MADE IN CHINA features 30 puppets, seven puppeteers, music inspired by both American and Chinese traditions, and animated video. A co-production with Nordland Visual Theatre and the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, MADE IN CHINA will premiere Off-Broadway in January 2017 at 59E59. It has been generously supported by the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Jim Henson Foundation, The Norwegian Arts Council, and the Eugene O’Neill Center.
PRESS ABOUT WAKKA WAKKA
These people may be geniuses.
The New York Times
That it’s staged with imaginative theatricality and precise physical grace is less impressive than the realism of its carefully observed portraits. There’s puppet sex and pathos as well.
The New York Times
...The work is so full of big laughs and offers so much to love—Waage’s wonderful puppet design and other delightful surprises...you’ll remember how much fun you had.
An experience that can only be had in a theater: the kind in which a puppet becomes the symbol of something profound.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Thanks so much for your patronage in 2016, with best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year. Stay tuned for continuing news about MADE IN CHINA, and the feature film TITLE VII in early January!