I cannot believe I haven't posted since 2019...
Between the world premiere of THE INFINITE TALES, finishing the Arena Stage fellowship, and navigating a global pandemic... One could say I was busy. Here is a round-up of this wonderful year!
august - october 2019
Upon returning to DC in August I began my fellowship as the Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage. My first production there was Right to be Forgotten by Sharyn Rothstein where I got to assist Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko. We opened in October and it was a fantastic world premiere. My play, The Infinite Tales was presented as a part of the Page to Stage Festival at The Kennedy Center.
Photo by Seema Sueko; Set by Paige Hathaway; Projections by Shawn Duan
november - december 2019
I took the month of November off from the fellowship (though Seema continued to mentor me) to direct the world premiere of The Infinite Tales which I was commissioned to write by 4615 Theatre Company. First rehearsal was the day after Right to be Forgotten opened! It was a fabulous run and an incredible process. I closed out December by working with Seema to help organize the Power Plays Summit at Arena Stage.
Photo by Ryan Maxwell; Set by Willow Watson; Props by Matthew Pauli; Costumes by Jeannette Christensen
The day after The Infinite Tales closed I jumped into rehearsals for A Thousand Splendid Suns. Here I assisted Carey Perloff as we remounted this stunning, beautiful production. This process, albeit fast and intense, was incredible. Ursula R. Sarna's adaptation is masterful, and the actors were superb. I loved this book when I was in high school, and having come off a piece I just adapted was impeccable timing.
Photo by Margot Schulman; Costumes by Linda Cho; Set and Props by Ken MacDonald
february - march 2020
After we opened A Thousand Splendid Suns, I began rehearsals for Celia and Fidel, our next world premiere. This play was written by Eduardo Machado and directed by Molly Smith. Working with this great team reminded me how exciting it is to breathe life into a new play! The assistant director for 7 Guitars also decided to leave the production and I was going to begin rehearsals for that show, directed by Tazewell Thompson, but then COVID-19 struck hard. Celia and Fidel was postponed, and my final two shows 7 Guitars and Toni Stone were as well. As of writing this, Arena is hoping to try staging them in 2021, but we will see how the situation unfolds.
Photo by Margot Schulman; Set by Riccardo Hernandez; Costumes by Alejo Vietti
As we got used to working at home, I began working with Literary to help review and track script submissions we were receiving. In that time, I began to work more closely with 4615 as we strategized how we would navigate this new and strange moment. Furloughs were rolled out, and my final day at Arena was set.
may - june 2020
Arena Stage commissioned me to write one of the 10 scripts that would constitute their first film: May 22, 2020. This world premiere movie brough the creme de la creme of Washington's finest writers (plus myself, lol) to create narratives after interviewing ten DC-based residents. It was an honor to work on this project. I am so thankful to have been commissioned. Furthermore, when the movie premiered in June, we were met with a gracious response.
I was selected for the Cohesion Theatre's Playwriting Fellowship where I am still working with Lyra Yang on her beautiful new play, which is currently under development.
I also volunteered as an auditor for the We See You White American Theatre movement to keep tabs on watchlisted theatre organizations. I began organizing with Asian American theatre makers in the DMV to help support Black Lives Matter and also address our own racism and anti-blackness within our community.
Still from May 22, 2020
July was busy. From organizing, to revamping 4615's new model and anti-racism policies, as well as being commissioned to write for Rorschach Theatre's Klecksography Festival, I was definitely juggling a lot! However, this was a riveting and exciting month. I turned 26. I created a piece of digital, virtual, live theatre that was unique and made-for-video. The piece is called Rep Us All and will be available to stream soon!
I am continuing to work on Lyra's play, as well as being booked to do several other virtual festivals which will be announced soon.
Throughout August, I worked with Cohesion on developing Lyra's play, as well as finished my Rorschach commission which premiered on August 8! After, 4615 crafted their anti-racism statements and policies. Based on those new changes, we rethought our programming.
With Paige Washington, I had the great honor of hosting the BIPOC Emerging Theatre Leaders Forum where I gathered over 30 emergent theatre leaders from across the country to address the issues of racism and making theatre in the pandemic. It was an incredible event, all virtual, and extremely productive. I connected with some great folx through that forum, and I am feeling more inspired and activated.
Finally, Arena called me again to work on our next movie!
Things will be announced soon, but 4615 has nearly finalized their programming, and I am excited to spark some revolutions in the American Theatre. I had anticipated being abroad around this time, but life gets in the way in the strangest circumstances. Even so, I am so proud of this year of growth, discipline, and maturation.
The 51st State, my second film with Arena Stage, will premiere September 16th. Enjoy!
More to come.