WHAT IS A STAGE READING?
A stage reading is a form of theatre without sets or full costumes. The actors, who read from scripts, may be seated, stand in fixed positions, or incorporate minimal stage movement. The purpose is to gauge the effectiveness of the dialogue, pacing and flow, and other dramatic elements that the playwright or director may wish to adjust. Audience feedback contributes to the process.
This series of readings of new works from Asian American playwrights is an artistic incubator for thoughts and ideas looking to be born onto the stage.
Saturday, March 25 at 10 A.M. • SteppingStone Theatre
The Princess’ Nightingale
Written by Damon Chua | Directed by Daisuke Kawachi
Synopsis: A brand new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale.” Set in eighteenth century China, the story revolves around the rivalry between Tenth Princess and her half-brother Prince Jia, children of the Emperor. It would take nothing less than a magical bird to show them the wonders of their land, and their responsibility as royalties.
TENTH PRINCESS — Michelle de Joya
NIGHTINGALE — Stephanie Bertumen
ACTOR #1 (PANDA #1, EMPEROR, PEASANT #4, MECHANICAL BIRD #2) — Wesley Mouri*
ACTOR #2 (PANDA #2, EMPRESS, PEASANT #3, MECHANICAL BIRD #1) — Catrina Huynh
ACTOR #3 (PRINCE JIA, TIGER HEAD, PEASANT #2) — Kyle Legacion
ACTOR #4 (MINISTER WU, TIGER TAIL, PEASANT #1) — Pogi Sumangil*
Damon Chua is a New York-based playwright, poet, fiction writer and producer. Originally from Singapore, Damon now calls Jackson Heights his home.
Damon is a member of The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group 2014-15 and Ma-Yi Theater’s Writers Lab in New York. His stint at The Public Theater was supported by a Time Warner Foundation grant. He is the recipient of a 2015 Dramatists Guild Fund #writechange scholarship and a 2014 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Currently published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus and the Proscenium Journal, Damon received an Ovation Award for Best New Play and has obtained support from UNESCO and the Durfee Foundation. Damon’s plays have been staged in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and presented in several states. They also have been seen in London, Singapore and Toronto.
In 2015, he made his Off-Broadway debut through Pan Asian Repertory Theatre with this full-length noir drama Film Chinois.
Steppingstone Theatre | 55 N Victoria St, Saint Paul, Mn 55104
10 A.M. – The Princess’ Nightingale
Free Admission • Free snacks
This children’s story is for the whole family.
Parking is currently available to SteppingStone patrons in the Mitchell Hamline School of Law parking lot on weekends. Paid parking is available at the Victoria Crossing ramp (corner of Victoria and Grand Ave.) Free parking is available along Grand Ave. On-street parking is available on surrounding residential streets.
Saturday, March 25 at 4 P.M. • Mu Performing Arts studio
The Moon Embraces the Song
by May Lee-Yang | directed by Katie Bradley
Synopsis: When a K-drama addict with a secret meets a Korean heir who has been banished to the Midwest, fantasy collides with reality in this romantic comedy about fate, cultural clashes, and the art of losing one’s virginity.
*K-drama refers to televised dramas in the Korean language, made in South Korea, mostly in a miniseries format, with distinctive features that set them apart from television series and soap operas made elsewhere.
GAO HLEE SONG — Suzie Juul
BENEDICT SONG/SONG JUNG SOO — Eric Sharp*
SECRETARY KIM/TOU MONG VANG/GARY JOHNSON/ENSEMBLE — Wesley Mouri*
MADAME SONG/GAO HLEE’S MOM/ENSEMBLE — Jeannie Lander
Z/MIRAE PARK/HOTEL CLERK/ENSEMBLE — Stephanie Bertumen
May Lee-Yang is a playwright, poet, prose writer, and performance artist. Born in Ban Vinai, a refugee camp in Thailand following the Secret War in Laos, May moved with her family to Saint Paul, MN where she lives to this day. Her work often explores the lives of Hmong women and living in a bicultural world, and she has been hailed by Twin Cities Metro Magazine as “on her way to becoming one of the most powerful and colorful voices in local theater.”
Her theater-based works have been presented at Mu Performing Arts, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Out North Theater, the 2011 National Asian American Theater Festival, the MN Fringe Festival and others. Her works includeConfessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman and Ten Reasons Why I’d Be a Bad Porn Star. She has received grants from the Bush Leadership Fellowship, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Performance Network, the Midwestern Voices and Visions Residency Award, the Playwrights’ Center, and the Loft Literary Center.
Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 P.M. • Mu Performing Arts studio
Two Mile Hollow
by Leah Nanako Winkler | directed by Leah Anderson
Synopsis: A parody coupled with moments of disorienting sincerity, Two Mile Hollow explores the dysfunctional family with brutality, awe and compassion. When the Donnellys gather for a weekend in the country to hash out belonging from their recently sold estate, an emotional storm breaks inside while a literal storm brews outside. As this family of famous, longing-to-be-famous, and kind-of-a-mess-but-totally-Caucasian characters come together with their personal assistant, Charlotte, some really really really really really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed (over white wine).
MARY — Katie Bradley*
BLYTHE DONNELLY — Sheena Janson
JOSHUA DONNELLY — Eric Sharp*
CHRISTOPHER DONNELLY — Jake Sullivan
CHARLOTTE — Hope Nordquist
Leah Nanako Winkler is a Japanese American playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington Kentucky. Her play KENTUCKY was among the top 10 on the 2015 Kilroys List and recently received an Off-Broadway Premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre in coproduction with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network. It subsequently received a West Coast Premiere at East West Players in November-December 2016. Leah is also the author of Two Mile Hollow (2016 Kilroys Honorable Mention, CAATA conference), Death For Sydney Black (terraNova Collective, 2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention) Diversity Awareness Picnic (2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention) , Double Suicide At Ueno Park (EST/Marathon) and The Adventures of Minami: The Robot From Japan Who Makes You Feel Safe When Loneliness Is Palpable (The Brick). With playwright Teddy Nicholas, she cowrote Flying Snakes in 3-D!!! which enjoyed performances in 2011-2012 at Ars Nova (ANT Fest), The Brick Theater and the New Ohio Theatre (Ice Factory ). Leah’s work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, New York Theatre Workshop, The Bushwick Starr, The Flea Theatre, Primary Stages, Artists at Play and more. Her experimental stuff has been performed all throughout the city at places like little theatre @ Dixon Place, Prelude Festival, Bowery Poetry Club and more.
Her collections of short plays, NAGORIYUKI & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are available on Amazon and have been performed all over the US, France and Asia. Her plays have also been published in Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews , Smith and Krauss, Sam French and Dramatists Play Service. She was an artist in residence at New Group/Urban Arts Initiative , a winner of the 2015 Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival, a 2015 and 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominee, a two time recipient of the A/P/A commission for the Japanese American National Museum, a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship for Creative Writing, a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Playwrights Group, a 2016 Sloan Commission recipient with the Ensemble Studio Theatre, a commissioned writer with 2G, a 2016-2018 Time Warner fellow at the Women’s Project, an alumnus of Youngblood and a 2017 Sundance/Ucross Fellow. The New York Times called her a “distinctive new voice.”
Mu Performing Arts studio | 755 Prior Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104
4 P.M. – The Moon Embraces the Song
6:15 P.M. – dinner
7:30 P.M. – Two Mile Hollow
Free Admission • Free food
*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States