Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings

Reading Three

Special thanks to our media partner ENERI Communications.



“Our Perspective” is a microcosm of the ever expanding national Asian American theatre scene. I’m proud and honored to showcase Midwestern Asian American playwrights, directors, and actors to a national audience at our parallel event to ConFest, the 6th National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival. I am concurrently the Local Coordinator for ConFest and welcome participants to Chicago’s vibrant, electric theater scene. 〜 Guest Curator/Producer, Mia Park

Reading Three: Short Plays About Acts of Revolution

“Acts of Revolution” occur at just the right time in these short plays written by Chicago Asian American playwrights. Prepare for revolutionary acts by Chicago’s finest playwrights, directors and actors.

August 13, 2018

The Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens

2433 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

6 – 7PM

Admission is free.

 

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Please note that guests should arrive 30 minutes before showtime to guarantee their seat. At 5:30 p.m., patrons on the waiting list will be admitted on a first come, first serve basis.

Our Perspective Reading Three Banner with actors pictures



  • “2 MINUTES” by David Rhee, directed by Brian BalcomAfter a quick lunchtime work out, Steven goes to the steam room at his local gym hoping for a quick “after noon delight,” until he meets John, who’s looking for more than a ‘quickie.’
  • “Battleground” by Tanuja Jagernauth, directed by Jonald Jude ReyesIt’s the 4th of July, and ​​Deepa ​and ​Zena​ are attending Zena’s​ work barbecue. Can Deepa ​manage her anxiety, attend the BBQ, and make it through in one piece?
  • “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon” by Mathew C. Yee, directed by Vi TranIn an act of rebellion against their perceived cultural identity, two Chinese-American newlyweds improvise a reckless plot to commit armed robbery to afford a modest honeymoon. A comedic short play, with live music inspired by classic country western and folk.


Playwrights


David Rhee

2 MINUTES
DAVID RHEE
David Rhee worked on Broadway and other productions in New York City such as ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ (Broadway), ‘Twelfth Night,” “Sweet Charity”, and “Making Tracks” (Reading). Chicago credits include “Kafka on the Shore,” “Pacific Overtures,” “Yellow Face,” “M. Butterfly,” “Durango” (Reading), and “Miss Saigon.” Regional credits include “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Children of Eden,” “As You Like It,” “Macbeth,” “Richard III” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” TV credits include “Law and Order,“ “2003 Tony Awards” and “The View.” Rhee graduated in 2017 with an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, which he attended on full scholarship.

Tanuja Jagernauth

Battleground
Tanuja Jagernauth
Tanuja Devi Jagernauth believes in the necessity of creation during times of destruction. Born in Guyana, South America, raised in Arizona, and currently living in Chicago, her artistic work employs humor, expressionism and magical realism to explore identity, assimilation, sexual violence, family, spirituality, and generational trauma. As an Indo-Caribbean immigrant and two-time alum of the “Voices of Our Nations Arts” multi-genre writing workshop for people of color, Jagernauth is dedicated to using her artistic and political work to help further the interests of healing justice, prison abolition, and Black liberation.

MATTHEW C YEE

Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon
Matthew C. Yee
Charlie in “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon”
Matthew C Yee is excited to present his first original piece with “Our Perspective.” He mainly works as an actor and musician in Chicago. He can currently be seen in “Vietgone” (Writers Theatre). Previous theatre credits include “Once” (Paramount Theatre), “A Year With Frog and Toad” (Chicago Children’s Theatre), “Treasure Island” (Lookingglass Theatre), and “The Wheel “(Steppenwolf). Film/TV work includes “Empire,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Justice,” and the feature film “Consumed.”

Cast

GORDON CHOW

GORDON CHOW
Stage directions in “2 MINUTES”
Chicago credits include “You For Me For You” (Sideshow Theatre); “American Hwangap” (A-Squared/Halcyon Theatre); “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (First Folio Theatre); “The World of Extreme Happiness” (understudy) and “Fish Men” (Goodman Theatre); “Yellow Face” (performing understudy), “Durango” (performing understudy) and “Golden Child” (performing understudy) (Silk Road Rising); “Jade Heart” (Chicago Dramatists); “Struggling Truths” (Prop Theatre); “Around the World in 80 Days” (Lifeline Theatre – Jeff Citation for Best Ensemble) and “Dope” (Defiant Theatre). Television credits include ”Chicago Med” (NBC).

Whitman Johnson

Whitman Johnson
Steve in “2 MINUTES”
Whitman Johnson is a Mississippi native who moved to Chicago and began pursuing acting after an unfulfilling stint in the traditional 9 to 5. Play credits include “His Greatness” (Pride Films and Plays), “Rhinoceros” (The Public House Theatre), “Lady Faust” (TPHT), and “Nicholas Sparks: The Musical” (Stage 773).

Scott Shimizu

Scott Shimizu
John in “2 MINUTES​”
After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in theatre and musical theatre, Scott Shimizu has worked with a myriad of companies around Chicago, including Silk Road Rising, The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Greenhouse Theatre Center, and Griffin Theatre, among others. Shimizu is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

A​nu Bhatt

A​nu Bhatt
​Aliyah in “Battleground”​
Anu Bhatt is a Chicago-based actor, dancer, and now playwright. Recent theatre credits include: “Hollow/Wave” (self-written, Silk Road Rising); “The Antelope Party” (Theater Wit); “A Disappearing Number“ (TimeLine); “The Burials” (Understudy) (Steppenwolf). Regional: “As You Like It,” “Richard II” (Michigan Shakespeare Festival). TV: “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” (NBC); “APB” (Fox); “Electric Dreams,” (Amazon, opposite Terrence Howard) and numerous commercials. Bhatt received her BA in linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and her MFA in acting from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. Website

Marissa Lichwick

Marissa Lichwick
Drone and Stage Directions in “Battleground”
Marissa Lichwick is a member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA. Credits include: Guthrie, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Court, Urban Stages, La mama etc…New York International Fringe Festival and more. TV credits include: “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Justice.” Written plays: “Yellow Dress” a solo show and “(un)DOCUMENTED”: a play.

Priya Mohanty

Priya Mohanty
Deepa in “Battleground”
Priya Mohanty came to America for her MBA at Duke University in 2008 and was working a corporate job, when a series of fortunate events led her to acting in 2015. She says she promptly quit her paycheck to pursue this passion (alliteration!) Mohanty is a graduate of The ACADEMY at Black Box Acting as well as School at Steppenwolf. Her most recent credits include, “Gender Breakdown”’ at Collaboraction, the Jeff Recommended production of “Pillars of the Community” at Strawdog Theatre Company and the Jeff Nominated world premiere of “Queen” at Victory Gardens Theatre. Mohanty was also nominated for ‘Best Actress’ for “Queen” by “Broadway World.” Mohanty is represented by Gray Talent Agency. Website

Vahishta Vafadari

Vahishta Vafadari
Zena in “Battleground”​
Vahista Vafadari has recently been seen at BoHo Theatre as “Roxane” in Cyrano. Vafadari has also worked at Timeline Theatre, First Folio, Lifeline and Remy Bumppo. In addition to acting, Vafadari has also been teaching, dialect coaching, and fight-designing around Chicago. She received her MFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Vafadari is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Matthew C. Yee
Charlie in “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon”
(See above under playwrights.)

Aurora Adachi-Winter

Aurora Adachi-Winter
Lucy in “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon”
A Chicago native, Aurora Adachi-Winter grew up on the south side of Chicago, attended Walter Payton College Prep, and graduated with her BFA in theatre from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a company member of First Floor Theater, where she appeared in their productions of “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them,” “peerless,” and “Two Mile Hollow.” Other past credits include: “Bull In A China Shop” (About Face Theatre); “Put Your House In Order” (The Roustabouts); “The Burials” (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); “good friday” (Oracle Productions, Jeff Nomination for Best Ensemble); “Hinter” (Steep Theatre Company); “M. Butterfly” (Court Theatre); and “Miss Saigon” (The Paramount). Adachi-Winter has performed three consecutive years in “The Fly Honey Show” (The Inconvenience), including with her mother, aunt, and cousin in their drum group Adachi Taiko. She can next be seen in “Vietgone” at Writers Theatre. Adachi-Winter is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Richard Costes

Richard Costes
Jeff and Cashier in “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon”
Richard Costes is an actor and advocate who has worked throughout Chicago, New York, and Ohio. He was last seen at Broken Nose Theatre performing as “Arjun” in “The Opportunities of Extinction.” Costes’ most recent credits in Chicago are “Snout” in “Short Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the “Stage Manager” in “Our Town” at Redtwist Theatre and “Astrov” in “VANYA (or, “That’s Life!”)” at Rasaka Theatre. Other credits include roles in “Battleaxe Betty” (American Theatre Company – CORE); “Lively Stones” (20% Theatre Company); “Wastwater” (Steep Theatre Company); and “The Tempest” (The Cuckoo’s Theater Project), among others. Costes is a 2017 recipient of a 3Arts “Make a Wave” grant. He is represented by Gray Talent.

Diana Lee

Diana Lee
Grandma, waitress, stage direction in “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon”
Diana Lee was recently seen in “Escape from North Korea” at the Tritonysia Play Festival and in “The Butcher’s Son” at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. Other credits include: “Round Heads and Pointed Heads” (Red Tape Theatre), “Hellcab” (The Agency Theater Collective), and “At the Table” (Understudy, Broken Nose Theatre.) Film/TV credits include: “Chicago P.D.” and “Showase” (webseries). Lee is an ensemble member of The Agency Theater Collective. She is represented by Lily’s Talent.


Directors

2 MINUTES
BRIAN BALCOM
Director

Brian Balcom is a disabled, Asian American director working in Chicago and Minneapolis who specializes in contemporary, muscular, relationship-driven plays. He enjoys working with playwrights and thinks that entertainment is underrated.


JONALD JUDE REYES

Battleground
JONALD JUDE REYES
Director
Jonald Jude Reyes is a writer, performer, and director based in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey) with an English degree, concentrating on Cinema Studies. Continuing an interest in the performing arts, he has completed programs at the Second City, iO Theater, the Annoyance, and the Chicago Dramatists Theater. His directing resume includes, “The Shrimpshack Redemption” (The Second City, 2017), “Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire” (Capital Fringe Festival 2017, Washington DC), “Splatter Theater” (Annoyance Theater, 2017 and 2016), “Love in the Time of Cholesterol” (Out of Bounds Festival 2015, Austin, Texas), and “Six Characters In Search of an Author” (Stage 773, 2014). Reyes has been voted as Chicago Reader’s Best of Stage Director (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016). He is a member of the 2017 Lincoln Center Theater (NYC) Directors Lab and DirectorsLabChicago 2016. Reyes is also the Artistic Director of the 22-year old Asian American comedy troupe, Stir Friday Night! More info at jonaldjude.com.


Vi Tran

Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon
VI TRAN
Director

Vi Tran is a Kansas City and Chicago-based storyteller, member of the Actors’ Equity Association, and creator of “The Butcher’s Son,” his autobiographical refugee story and folk musical memoir about his family’s escape from Vietnam, which was a winner of “Most Promising Musical” and “Best Leading Performer” (“Tran”) at Underscore Theatre Company’s 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (CMTF). Chicago credits: Paramount Theatre’s “Miss Saigon” (Ensemble/The Engineer,Understudy); director of “Will The Circle by L.C. Bernadine” at Underscore’s CMTF; and producer/playwright/performer of “The Butcher’s Son” at Underscore Theatre Company’s CMTF. Regional credits include: Unicorn Theatre, Coterie Theatre, Heart of America Shakepeare, Starlight Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Playhouse on the Square and the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts.

Vi Tran was born in the shadow of Sai Gon, Vietnam and raised in southwestern Kansas, He considers himself equal parts sea salt and wheat fields. Tran says his original work has been described as earnest and intimate, with the purpose of building bridges in an ever-divisive society, inviting dialogue and understanding, and inspiring hope and unity.