2018 AAP Readings

Saturday, April 28, 2018

12 p.m. - Three Women of Swatow
1:30 p.m. - Mid-day Reception
2:30 p.m. - Young Dumb Broke High School Kids

Company of Angels
1350 San Pablo St.
Los Angeles, 90033

by Chloé Hung
directed by Rebecca Wear
dramaturgy by Annette Lee

by Nicholas Pilapil
directed by Jer Adrianne Lelliott
dramaturgy by Michael Golamco

Continuing our mission to present stories of underrepresented communities, Artists at Play will develop and showcase these new works to the Los Angeles theatre community. In the midst of a national discussion on the lack of diversity and representation, we are proud to present two new plays by emerging playwrights of Asian descent with distinct voices that feature diverse casts. 

The readings will be on Saturday, April 28, at Company of Angels. Three Women of Swatow will be presented at 12 p.m., and Young Dumb Broke High School Kids at 2:30 p.m.

Each reading will be followed by a talkback. $15 ticket includes the mid-day reception. (All readings are complimentary.)

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Artists at Play is proud to present Three Women of Swatow by Chloé Hung as part of our annual spring reading series on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 12 p.m.

The Play
Three generations of women must come together to solve a bloody situation. This darkly comedic play takes a look at the legacy of abuse, the power of family, and how to prevent the resurrection of a headless chicken.

The Playwright
Chloé Hung is a Chinese-Canadian writer based in Los Angeles. A graduate of NYU Tisch’s MFA program in Dramatic Writing, Chloé’s first play, All Our Yesterdays, played in two festivals in Canada to critical acclaim. Her second play Issei, He Say (or the Myth of the First) was workshopped at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and will premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company in April 2018 and has garnered an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. Her third play Three Women of Swatow was developed with Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre company and won Chloé the RBC Emerging Playwrights Award. Her play Model Minority was workshopped with Moving Arts Company’s MADlab. Chloé currently writes on the third season of the Ava DuVernay-created TV drama "Queen Sugar."

The Director
Rebecca Wear’s previous credits include If the Saints (Metro Baptist), Obedient Steel (HEREarts), I Run with You (Women’s Center Stage) and Ophelia (Hollywood Fringe Festival). She associate directed the world premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage). She has previously assisted Jerry Ruiz, Stew, Kate Whoriskey and Lindsay Allbaugh. Rebecca has worked with Under the Radar, been an associate artist with The Orchard Project, held a Sherwood Fellowship with Center Theatre Group, and is currently pursuing a PhD through a Chancellor’s Fellowship at University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Dramaturg
Annette Lee began her artistic life as an actor in New York before returning to her native Los Angeles as a playwright. Her plays have been performed and read in Los Angeles, New York, Colorado, Portland, and Chicago. She has written for radio, mono-drama, site-specific projects and has served as a dramaturg for both USC’s School of Theater and Master of Professional Writing Program. A recipient of the Mickey Dude Fellowship for the Depiction of Ethnic Life in America and the Edna & Yushan Han Scholarship, she holds an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA, has taught writing at UCLA and East West Players. Formerly, as the Literary Manager for Los Angeles’ Playwrights’ Arena, she curated seven seasons of the New Pages Lab Reading series, a program developing new works for the stage by Los Angeles playwrights, which have been seen and heard across the country.

The Cast

Katherine Chou, Emily Kuroda, Janet Song

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Artists at Play is proud to present Young Dumb Broke High School Kids by Nicholas Pilapil as part of our annual spring reading series on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

The Play
Everything sucks for high school kids Bliss, Olivia, and Miles. Bliss is a dreamer who’s knocked up and knocked down, Olivia is a lover with no one to love her back, and Miles is an orphan who would kill to have a family. And together they sling back slushies, barf down chili cheese fries, and try to sort out their lives in the most dangerous ways. They're unloved and fucked up and it's whatever.

The Playwright
Nicholas Pilapil is a writer of plays and songs. His plays have been developed/performed with Becky and Baldwin, East West Players, Fountain Theatre, Fresh Produce’d LA, Playwrights Foundation and The Vagrancy. His musical-comedy Before and After was the 2017 winner of the Fountain Theatre’s Rapid Development Series. He is also the writer of the short films zoë (Outfest FUSION, Miniature Film Festival Canada, North Portland Unknown Film Festival) and I Don't Love You (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Los Angeles Philippine International Film Festival). Nicholas is a happy co-founder of Becky and Baldwin.

The Director
Jer Adrianne Lelliott is the founding artistic director of Coeurage Theatre Company. Directing highlights include The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up for Artists at Play (World Premiere, Ovation Recommended); Blackbird (Ovation Recommended); and Vieux Carré, The Woodsman and Andronicus for Coeurage Theatre Company. She has appeared in productions at The Pasadena Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Chance Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, MainStreet Theatre Company, and Disney on Broadway.

The Dramaturg
Michael Golamco is a writer/producer and playwright. TV: Syfy/Netflix’s "Nightflyers," NBC’s "Grimm." Film: Untitled Randall Park and Ali Wong Romantic Comedy, Please Stand By. Theatre: Bulid, Year Zero, Cowboy Versus Samurai, with productions at Second Stage Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie, LA’s Colony Theater, and others both nationally and internationally.

The Cast
Christopher Aguilar, Eddie Liu, Jenapher Zheng

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Playwright Interview: Chloé Hung

Playwright Chloè Hung
How would you describe your writing style or “voice?” 
I write drama with a comedic edge. I write about human fallibility. I am attracted to stories about women—in particular women of color. I love to write about memory and legacy. I write stories where people find their strength in unexpected ways. I write stories where everyone is a little right and a little wrong—it’s true to real life insofar as people are complicated and their opinions are so much more influenced by emotion than facts.

What drew you to playwriting? 
When I was a kid I thought that I would be a novelist. I have always loved telling stories. In high school, I was painfully shy but a drama teacher encouraged me to continue studying drama. I found disappearing into a character and into a story helped build my confidence in the real world. Playwriting was then a natural transition that merged my love of storytelling with theatre. Theatre allows for our imaginations to soar in a way that they can’t on screen. When a theatre audience enters the space, you enter into a kind of social contract: they will suspend their disbelief to a certain extent so long as you tell them a compelling and emotionally resonate story. So long as you hold to that contract, you can take the audience anywhere and show them anything—I find that truly exciting.

Chloè's writing space.
Tell us about where you like to write.
Being close to a TV and a kitchen is a gift and a curse. I like writing at a table where I can spread out. I usually have a copy of the play next to me, whether I look at it or not. When I’m feeling lazy I move to the couch.

Why this play? 
This play examines something that exists in every community and is always swept under the rug: domestic violence and the cycle of abuse. This play is also about legacy and how your actions affect the next generation. We’ve seen similar themes in works by white writers—in particular white male writers—about white families. For Asian communities, domestic violence is extremely pervasive and is never discussed. I wanted to take a look at this topic from the point of view of three Chinese women. I also wanted to show a different side of Chinese women that we don’t often see on stage or in the media but are the women I have grown up with—fierce, funny, and fallible.

Describe Three Women of Swatow in three words.
A bloody mess

Chloé Hung's Three Woman of Swatow will be presented in Artists at Play Readings on Saturday, April 28 at 12pm.

Playwright Interview: Nicholas Pilapil

Playwright Nicholas Pilapil
How would you describe your writing style or “voice?” 

I call the voice Linda. And Linda seems really nice, but she also has a lot of opinions and is actually really mean. I want to describe my writing as very funny, but that's subjective to whoever is in the audience. What I can say for sure is that a Nicholas Pilapil play is most likely a dark comedy—with an abundance of pop culture references, characters with little to no subtext and a song or two I couldn't resist writing—about young people of color who feel ostracized from the world they live in.

What drew you to playwriting? 

Initially, I was reading a lot of bad plays and thought "I can do way better than that!" But, it wasn't until I took a writers workshop—with playwright Madhuri Shekar—that I actually started writing and realized how much I really enjoyed it. Oddly, playwriting felt like a form of activism and to be able to tell a story and share my point of view felt kinda empowering for me. But, what really trapped me was seeing an excerpt of my play performed for an audience for the first time. I'm really into people telling me I'm amazing, so once that audience laughed, I was like "I'm changing careers!"

Nicholas' writing space.
Tell us about where you like to write.

I love watching TV and I have no self control, so I have to force myself to write at this desk with the WiFi off. However, most of the time I just end up writing with my laptop on my couch in between episodes of "RuPaul's Drag Race," "Schitt's Creek" and something dumb like "The Good Doctor."

Why this play?

I wanted to write a love story. And at the beginning of this play's life it was a boy meets girl kinda story where they just fall in love. It was an epic love story that traveled through time and had a talking fetus. It was called Him and Her, and it was so stupid. Which is why we now have Young Dumb Broke High School Kids. I tend to write plays that are very character driven, and while I hated the first iteration of this play, I loved its characters. Specifically the characters when they were 16 years old in 1997. So I trashed the play, kept those characters, and just wrote random scenes with them until they told me what their story was. And it became less of the typical boy meets girl love story and more of a story about learning to love yourself and the life you live.

How would you describe your play in three words? 

A love story.

Nicholas Pilapil's Young Dumb Broke High School Kids will be presented in Artists at Play Readings on Saturday, April 28 at 2:30pm.

AAP Readings: Interview with the Dramaturgs

Michael Golamco and Annette Lee, both playwrights themselves, serve as dramaturgs for the 2018 Artists at Play Readings. Working closely with our playwrights, Chloé Hung and Nicholas Pilapil, they provide guidance and help to develop these new plays. Read on to learn about what excites them, what they love about the plays and what exactly a dramaturg does.

What excites you most about working on a new play?
Michael Golamco: I love helping someone execute their vision and finding ways to make it better. I get a rush from watching a new story come to life.  
Annette Lee: New plays are like babies. They can sometimes be unwieldy or difficult. Much of the time, you won't know in which direction they are going and they will take you to places you had no idea existed. However, the amazing thing about a new play (and a baby) is the promise of what they will be. In the early stages, you can see it what it wants to be and help shape and guide it. And while there may only be one writer, it takes a team of people to develop a play.   
Golamco: Writers need advocates!  
Lee: The director through their guidance and the actors through their performances, have considerable on how the playwright will shape the work.  They let the playwright see, through their interpretations, what the play can grow up to be. 
Golamco: I love being an advocate for other writers because I know how challenging the job of writing can be. In my own career, other people have been crucial champions to my work -- so it’s fantastic to be able to provide that voice for someone else. 
Artists at Play Readings all-company table read
(with dramaturgs Golamco and Lee, front left)

What do you think audiences will enjoy most about the plays you're working on?

Golamco: THEY’RE BOTH FUNNY. Both of these plays deal with big, gut-wrenching, real-world situations…but they’re also FUNNY. What impresses me about both these playwrights is their strong balance between humor and drama. They recognize that the world is intrinsically full of both. It feels like audiences are already aware of that, so I think people are going to get a lot out of both plays.  
Lee: An audience that comes to a new play reading is ready to hear something surprising and are ready for a wild ride. They are open to new ideas, concepts and images. I think they are going to get all of those things. 
What is a dramaturg?
LeeA dramaturg can serve in a number of capacities. 
Golamco: Literary advisor, production advisor, life coach. 
LeeA dramaturg can provide analysis to the playwright and director, sometimes make suggestions on the direction in which the playwright can take the story and provide research. 
Golamco: To me, being a dramaturg to a playwright is like being a consigliere to a mob boss. I’m the guide, but ultimately, they’re the boss. My job is to advise them during the heated process of development, advance their vision, throw elbows.  
LeeThe dramaturg assists in shepherding the development of a new work.
GolamcoDuring that birthing process, a playwright is usually hyper-focused on their work—down to the word-to-word molecules of dialogue—so they rely on someone else to keep a 50,000 foot perspective and bash heads together to get them what they want.  

See Chloé Hung's Three Woman of Swatow and Nicholas Pilapil's Young Dumb Broke High School Kids in the 2018 Artists at Play Readings on Saturday, April 28.

Artists at Play and New Plays

2016 AAP Readings rehearsal of As We Babble On by Nathan Ramon (seated, center)

Artists at Play is constantly looking for plays that go beyond the immigrant experience. We seek stories that expand the Asian American narrative in theatre and reflect Asian Americans who are tackling modern lives that both encompass and transcend issues of cultural identity. AAP is proud to carefully mine selections that are fantastic examples of this narrative.

When AAP debuted back in 2011, we wanted to showcase Asian American plays that had yet to be experienced by local audiences. Since then, AAP has had the great fortune of connecting with many Asian American playwrights. We soon realized the need to add our commitment to the development and production of new plays by these artists. With several L.A. premieres of already-published works under our belt, we naturally shifted more of our focus to supporting writers—both established and emerging.

When we had the opportunity to partner with Carla Ching on her play The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up, we knew it was something special. Working with a playwright to develop a new play is a greater challenge, but it was the right step for AAP to begin using our resources and experience to help shepherd new and diverse stories to American theatre. The overwhelmingly positive response from our 2015 Artists at Play Readings led to a world premiere the following fall season.

2015 reading of The Two Kids... by Carla Ching with Julia Cho and Raymond Lee
2016 production of The Two Kids... with Nelson Lee and Julia Cho

This coming season bolsters our reputation as champions of new works. Along with The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up, Leah Nanako Winkler's Two Mile Hollow is another great outcome of our annual spring reading series. In the words of the playwright:
Leah Nanako Winkler
"Artists at Play is one of the smartest, fearless supportive theater companies I've ever had the pleasure of working with. They have had a tremendous impact on my career—especially with the success of my play Two Mile Hollow.

In 2015, Julia emailed me and asked if I had any plays that could potentially be submitted to Artists at Play's annual reading series. I sent them an early draft of Two Mile Hollow—a satire of white people by the water plays (a genre where white people sit in a big house by the water and complain about their problems)—which was at the time did not cast actors of color playing white people on the central parts. This idea was sparked by Artists at Play and completely elevated the script's intention and made the satire more biting and nuanced. The next year, Artists at Play and Second Generation productions presented a reading of the play at CAATA (National Asian American Theatre Festival & Conference) and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There I got to meet and share the work so many amazing people. I'm so excited to present the play with Artists at Play—the very company who gave this play a chance in the first place and made me see the potential it had from a wider lens. It would probably still be an unopened document on my computer if it were not for the good folks at Artists at Play!" 
As our next mainstage show (and part of a national simultaneous world premiere), Two Mile Hollow demonstrates that AAP not only fosters work through development but also gives playwrights first productions of their new plays. AAP is proud to encourage and enable writers who will contribute not only to Los Angeles theatre but American theatre as a whole.

2016 workshop of Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winker
at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Our work over the last six years has shown us that the L.A. theatre community is hungry for the work that we do. We hear from Asian American playwrights and actors of color wanting to present their craft on stage, as well as audience members wanting to see new, fresh stories about the world around them. Taking all that into account, our future goals include producing an expanded version of our spring reading series and commissioning full-length works. We are excited to explore new ways in which we can cultivate the work of artists of color and consequently contribute to the further diversifying of voices in theatre.

We're thrilled to continue our mission of the development of new plays this spring in our Artists at Play Readings series. On April 28, we will present two new plays by emerging playwrights: Three Women of Swatow by Chloé Hung and Young Dumb Broke High School Kids by Nicholas Pilapil.

History of Artists at Play Readings

Iggy Woo by Alice Tuan
Three Steps Back by Peter J. Kuo

Marabella by Boni B. Alvarez
She Kills Monsters: Adventurer's Edition by Qui Nguyen

The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching*
Nobody's Child by Sanaz Toossi

As We Babble On by Nathan Ramos
Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler*

tot: The Untold, Yet Spectacular Story of (a filipino) Hulk Hogan
by Victor Maog

Coming up on April 28
Three Women of Swatow by Chloé Hung
Young Dumb Broke High School Kids by Nicholas Pilapil

*world premiere production produced by Artists at Play

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