I’ve driven to Los Angeles every night this week to sit in on rehearsal for this upcoming Saturday’s closing weekend of the TeAdaWorks New Performance Festival. It’s the culmination of a journey that I’ve been on with eight other TeAda artists, one co-writer, a whole bunch of workshop leaders, two directors & seven very talented actors! It seems fitting because I’ve been contemplating about my journey in southern California (which will be three years this summer!) and also about leaving it now that I’ve chosen to move to Milwaukee to begin the PhD program in Creative Writing this fall.
Since the theme of this year is collaboration in many ways, this is the first time I’m co-written a choreopoem with another writer and am grateful to my co-writer Serena Lin for suggesting that we work together in this way. I’ve known Serena longer than any of my other friends in southern California since we met long ago working on the No on Prop 54 Race Information Ban sponsored by Ward Connerly. We bumped into each other again at a Cornerstone Theater Company reading over six years after we first met and embarked on this journey together where we’ve simultaneously pushed and pulled each other to this (sort-of) finish line. I’m grateful to the many hands and minds that have helped us along the way – including the other Teada artists, workshop leaders, director and choreographer, staff and actors!
After a guest appearance with our full cast on KPFK’s Flip the Script, host riKu Matsuda said it best – this show is about putting our queer/trans bodies into the histories of our communities and also experimenting with new ways to tell these stories. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us to tell us what you think of our efforts and help us as we continue to develop this choreopoem and also to check out the amazing one-woman shows by two other very talented TeAda artists, Marie-Francoise Theodore and Felicia Montes.
Apt timing as I begin wrapping up my time in southern California to prepare for the big move.
Hope to see you along the way!
* To hear a sneak preview, check out the archive of our Flip the Script KPFK show.
* To hear a short clip of TEADAWORKS Artists Shamkea Cunningham, Marie-Francoise Theodore, Serena Lin, myself and TeAda General Manager Marie-Reine Velez on Muse Salon talk about the TEADAWORKS process and this weekend’s shows.
8th Annual TEADAWORKS New Performance Festival
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.
4718 W. Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016.
sliding scale $10 – $15.
To reserve tickets call: 310-998-8765 or go to http://www.teada.org
March 27th at 2pm and 7 pm.
NOT A PROPER HAITIAN GIRL is Marie-Francoise Theodore’s semi-autobiographical piece that charts the journey of a young woman whose true identity is hidden throughout her childhood and the discovery of her true self.
Ching-In Chen and Serena W. Lin‘s multi-genre piece 2 RUMORS IN A BUCKET examines the history of “coolies” (unskilled Asian laborers employed after the fall of slavery) through choreopoem, an experimental poem-play in the tradition of Sharon Bridgforth’s “jazz theater” aesthetic, which incorporates movement, performance and “found text.” Performed by Francis Chin, Ronalee Par, Zumi Mizokami, Amery Ken Thao, Renuka Veerasingam, Lidet Viravong & Saba Waheed.
In LOTERIA XICANA, Felicia Montes uses Indigenous & Mexican music and dance along with remixed versions of “MexSheCan” Lotería cards to weave together the varied identities and experiences of a modern-day Xicana.
Each performance is written and developed by L.A. based artists through an eight-week process of workshops and master classes led by theater and performance art professionals, including local workshop directors known for their work in new play development: Alison De La Cruz and Dom Magwili.
Under the direction of artist Leilani Chan, TeAda Productions exists to enrich the repertoire of contemporary works created and performed by people of color. Begun in 1994, TeAda Productions is a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to empower underserved communities through the development and presentation of interdisciplinary theatrical performance pieces by, for, and about people of color. By developing groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary performances that incorporate cultural forms such as dance and music with experimental theatrical and performance art practices, TeAda Productions expands awareness, builds communities, and educates the general public about the health, educational, and social justice issues facing underserved communities.