2022! all eyes on you!
In rehearsal for Por Lo Que Soy. From L to R: (Myself, Sara Hernandez on the floor, Alejandro Diaz-Ferguson, Jordanna Hernandez, and Camilo Linares)
Thanks to DC's robust covid-guidelines, I am so fortunate to have been working again. From directing for a festival, landing some big dream projects, and returning to Arena Stage to revive a show that shuttered too early, I'm feeling very grateful and optimistic as we head into the new year.
OPERAS. I will be in Baltimore, rehearsing from January to March with the Peabody Conservatory. We are doing not one, but two operas together! This is my opera debut and I'm blessed to be co-directing both Hin und Zuruk and Les Mamelles des Tiresias with the wonderful director, Alison Moritz. Our show(s) will open in March and we will also be joined by production designer David Plunkert and Nicholas Hersh from the Boston Symphony Orchestra will conduct.
PLAY. Excited to premiere my adaptation of the Achilles and Patroclus myth at Shenandoah University. I am so looking forward to working with the wonderful acting students here, especially on a story I love so much.
Por Lo Que Soy by Jordanna Hernandez (Director, 4615 Theatre, December 2021)
The Peachlanders by Lyra Yang (Director, WSC Avant Bard, October 2021)
Celia and Fidel by Eduardo Machado (Assistant Director, Arena Stage, September 2021)
por lo que soy
I told Jordanna (holding the phone for the selfie/ussie) that, after I put down her pages, she needed to get this workshopped asap. Jordanna has been my collaborator and friend for about two (!!) years now, and she's a sublime actress. However, I had no clue she was also an extremely talented, honest, and vivid writer. I led a very sweaty new play workshop in Temperance Garden with, at the time, two wonderful actors - Sara Hernandez and Alejandro Diaz-Ferguson. When the show was picked up by 4615 Theatre for the Housewarming Theatre Festival, we welcomed Camilo Linares to the cast.
I am very lucky that I've gotten to work on a diverse array of plays by writers and actors of different experiences from me. Jordanna and I lovingly called this our "Chichi" (pronounced like "Chai-chee") power collaboration, or Chinese-Chicano. Our room was rich with laughter, tears, and kindness. I am looking forward to getting Jordanna's revisions as she continues to expand and develop the play into a longer, full-length project. Did I mention we sold out our audience for the last weekend of our festival???
New name, same play! September marked the start of my second year as the director on this project. Lyra and I are close friends and alum of the Horticulture Playwrights Workshop, where this play was previously called "The Peach Land."
After juggling masking restrictions, music stands, and streaming kerfuffles, we were so elated to premiere this play in an IN-PERSON format! So thankful to WSC Avant Bard and WIP Arts for co-producing this reading. Even more grateful to Jennifer Knight, Ashley D. Nguyen, Chani Werely, Francis Cabatac, Sydney Lo, Jasmine Jiang, and Mary Yee for acting in the project. Here's hoping that our next iteration is a full staging...
celia & fidel
I love working at Arena Stage, and I especially love working with Molly Smith. So, when I saw that our canceled show was getting a second chance, I emailed her first thing and the next day I was on the prep call before we began our first rehearsal.
A funny story -- Andhy Mendez (pictured above) joined our 2020 play about two weeks before opening. Molly tasked me with teaching him the entire show. He learned it in two days and then was off book by the third preview. Covid shutting us down felt like a huge injustice to him, because he only recently inherited the role and didn't get to make it his own yet. Getting back into the rehearsal room and seeing him really redefine and discover the character was a wonderful, inspiring experience!
I think a lot about how I desperately wanted my two years this pandemic stole from me back. Upon reflection, I think I accomplished quite a lot. From flirting with consulting, innovating theatre delivery at my company, directing a video game, building new friendships, and learning new skills, I am really proud of what I was able to do. This time away from the in-person theatre has made me love it and treasure it much more.
so, as we approach the new year, I am feeling excited about the future. A global pandemic can't keep me down (fingers crossed, we are still in peak Omicron season....) and I hope that all of us can come out of this stronger and revitalized.