|May 4, 2012 8:00 pm||to||May 26, 2012 8:00 pm|
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month and, of course, Mother’s Day, A-Squared Theatre Workshop, Chicago’s only pan-Asian dramatic theater company, presents My Asian Mom, an evening of eight 10-minute one-act plays directed by Joe Yau at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont, May 4 – 26. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $13 for students and groups of 10 or more, and may be purchased by calling 773.327.5252 or visiting www.stage773.com. For more information on the performance go to www.a-stw.org.
From saving the meat of a deer hit in the road to forcing piano lessons onto small children, Asian mothers are weird, funny, and nurturing in their own inexplicable ways. With the Confucian command to honor and obey elders in their upbringing, it is often culturally taboo for Asians to divulge public emotion and opinion about their mothers. As artists, the mostly Asian American cast members and writers of My Asian Mom are compelled to express their truths about their families and mothers.
When A-Squared Theatre Workshop founding member, Mia Park (www.miapark.com), conceived My Asian Mom in 2011, she was surprised by the reactions from her community. Some Asian actors felt threatened by the overwhelmingly complicated emotions they have towards their mothers. She was told, “This is too close to home. I can’t do it.” From the other end of the spectrum, Asians who’ve never performed before wanted to be a part of the show, excited about the rare opportunity to share stories about their moms with an audience. Park knew that My Asian Mom would provide a special forum for these eager and emotional voices to be heard.
Of the eight acts, three are about Korean moms, three about Filipino moms, one about Chinese moms, and one about every Asian mom. Some of the works are devised by the performers, some are excerpts from longer plays and some were chosen from a nationwide call for submissions. The cast includes an adoptee, a hapa (person of half Asian descent), and artists from Burmese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Caucasian and Chinese backgrounds. This multi-ethnic collaboration of talents fully express the humorous, touching and aggravating experiences they’ve had with their Asian moms. Expect complex comedy, poignant drama and total honesty from the collaborative efforts from Second City directors and instructors, Mia Park of “The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow” and Chic-A-Go-Go fame, Helen Young (u/s Steppenwolf, Goodman) and other seasoned cast and crew.
The eight one-act plays are:
· “Autumn Moon” by Marie Yuen. Directed by Masami Maggard and Miriam Solon. Featuring Ginger Leopoldo, Arvin Jalandoon, RJ Silva, Ramona Kywe, Amy Shi, Ben Albovias. A mother struggles with the loss of her husband only to realise the Autumn Moon links them eternally.
· “Eight Turkey Sandwiches” written and performed by Mia Park. Directed by Helen Young. A daughter dreams of her Korean family lineage and contemplates how she’s supposed to fit in when she doesn’t eat turkey or mayonnaise.
· “MamaSiHero” by Conrad A. Panganiban. Directed by Jin Kim. Featuring Aimee Algas Alker, Lovien “Joey” Flores (5/11-5/26), Ben Albovias, Ginger Leopoldo (5/4 & 5/5). A comic book artist is under pressure to deliver a new superhero and draws her inspiration from her mom.
· “Organic Meatballs” by Damon Chua. Directed by John Hildreth. Featuring Rio Shigeta, Noelle Lynn, Ramona Kywe. A brother and sister check in with one another only to realize that the meeting is guided by the invisible hand of mom.
· “Piano” by Hope Kim. Directed by Joe Yau. Featuring Hope Kim. A Korean woman tells of her time growing up with piano lessons and how that’s affected her life and her mom’s.
· “TAB” by Susan H. Pak. Directed by Marc Rita. Featuring Aimee Algas Alker, Hope Kim, Noelle Lynn. A mother relates her last meeting with her older daughter while trying to reestablish her relationship with her younger one.
· “This Is Why I Don’t Drink” by Neal Ryan Shaw. Directed by Neil Jacobsen. Featuring Ginger Leopoldo, Alex Wu. A son visiting his mom share a drink and catch up on what’s most important to her, the lives of fictional characters on a Filipino soap opera.
· “Tiger Mom” by Colleen Dilts and Mike Gillespie. Directed by Jay Sukow. Featuring Colleen Dilts, Patrick Woods. A Caucasian mom decides to raise her child in the tradition of a Tiger Mom.
A-Squared Theatre Workshop (www.a-stw.org) is a Chicago based collective that creates an artistic environment of risk taking and growth for Asian American theater artists by dynamically bringing Asian American stories to the stage for general theater-going audiences. A-Squared is a 501c3, non-profit organization, dedicated to: (1) Sharing Asian American stories and experiences to the Chicago community through live theatre; (2) Expanding perceptions and contexts about Asian Americans of all generations and their part in the history of America and (3) Creating a safe, artistic environment for Asian American theater artists to explore, express and grow in traditional and non-traditional roles both on and off the stage in Chicago.
My Asian Mom, an evening of eight 10-minute one-act plays directed byJoe Yau at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont, May 4 – 26. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. The press performance is Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. followed by a reception hosted by Angel Island Theatre Company and presented by ENERI Communications. Tickets are $15 general admission, $13 for students and groups of 10 or more, and may be purchased by calling 773.327.5252 or visiting www.stage773.com. For more information on the performance go to www.a-stw.org.