Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Reunion of ex-"AArt-ists" for David Henry Hwang's GOLDEN CHILD

Director/Producer Andy Lowe reunites with fellow veterans of the Asian American Repertory Theatre(AART); Anne Tran, Kimberly Miller and Jyl Kaneshiro for Chinese Pirate Productions' presentation of GOLDEN CHILD, by David Henry Hwang.  This will be the artists' first collaboration since the former company members left AART during its major re-organization in 2005.  Lowe and his revolving group of artistic colleagues led AART for 10 seasons, leaving behind a legacy of over 35 full stage productions, plus countless staged readings and original play workshops under their creative leadership.  Lowe has since followed up his post AART career with his own Chinese Pirate Productions(CPP), an independent company he founded at the beginning of 2011, and premiered last July with the nationally acclaimed DR. HORRIBLE'S SING ALONG BLOG -LIVE, that Lowe directed, produced and adapted from the Joss Whedon, geek-web-musical masterpiece.  This will be CPP's second full production.

GOLDEN CHILD was the second play to earn playwright DAVID HENRY HWANG a nomination for Best Original Play in 1998, his first being M. BUTTERFLY which won the Tony Award in 1988, and was last produced in San Diego for an AART/Diversionary joint production led by then Executive Director Chuck Zito and then Artistic Director  Lowe.  Former AART Associate Artistic Director Kimberly Miller performed in that 2004 joint production. 

 "Coming back to Hwang's writing reminds me of what I felt was important back in 1996, when I first became involved with AART... The excitement in telling stories of the Asian American experience; stories that aren't often seen on San Diego stages." 

Says Kaneshiro,"This was the core group of people who were indispensable in defining my love of the arts..." Kaneshiro co-founded AART with Lowe back in 1995.  

The two actresses will perform as "Eng Siu-Yong" and "Eng Luan," the First and Second wife of a Chinese Business man in 1918.  Eng Tieng-Bin returns home to China after spending  three years in the Philippines.  He greets his daughter, three wives, and their traditional Confucian home with a new found interest in modern "Occidental" Culture.  Much to his wives' dismay, he has also invited a Christian missionary into their home, who's lessons may allow him to follow his heart, and re-marry his true love, his "third  wife," as his ONLY wife.  
Opening  February 2012 on the tail of many of San Diego's Year of the Dragon Themed Lunar New Year events, GOLDEN CHILD is a story of cultures colliding as personal  wants and needs fuel loyalties and faith.  The play takes the commonly examined cultural clash of "East meets West" and turns it on its head.  Instead of seeing how an Asian cultural sensibility is contained, expressed and adapted within a western setting, we instead see how western influence impacts a family completely immersed within a classical Chinese household in the early 1900's. 
With each character representing a different virtue, be it tradition, ambition, passion, idealism or hope, GOLDEN CHILD examines the politics of conversion at the dawn of an intercultural world.   
"Hwang's theme of struggle between East and West resonates with me..." says Assistant Director Anne Tran. "I deal with it all the time with my own family and community." Tran embodied that struggle in swordplay choreographed by Lowe in the January 2000 production of Hwang's F.O.B. that christened the opening of AART's MMPAC Theatre in South Park San Diego.  "I was with AART for such a long time... Now, to work specifically on an APA play... I'm looking forward to working with people I haven't worked with in a long time... It  will feel like coming home..."   Says Tran, "I'm ready "to get the ol' band back together!"

Anne Tran Davis (Assistant Director)-  Anne is excited to be working with Chinese Pirate Productions for the first time. She has directed for the Asian American Repertory Theatre (AART), Playwrights Project and the Fritz Blitz.  She has also performed with many local theatre companies, including AART, Page to Stage (La Jolla Playhouse) and 6th@Penn.  Many thanks to Andy for the opportunity and to the cast and crew for their hard work.  Much love to D, L, L and M.

Kym Miller (Eng Siu-Yong/First Wife)- Kym happily returns to Golden Child in the role of First Wife, after having played Second Wife in Asian American Repertory Theatre's staged reading in 2004.  Kym served as Associate Artistic Director for AART (1998-2005), where she directed or acted in over a dozen productions and has appeared at the San Diego Rep (Bandido!), and Lamb's Players Theatre (Boomers, South Pacific, An American Christmas, The Secret Garden) where she is an associate artist.  A graduate of UCSD and the American Conservatory Theater STC, Kym also works in television, film, as a voice actor, and sings with the jazz quartet Party Of 4.

Jyl Kaneshiro (Eng Luan/Second Wife)- Happy, happy, joy, joy! Jyl is back with a fervor that only the stage can bring, the coup de grace, this play allows for a full circle with some of the most talented people she has ever had the pleasure to work with..some of the original members of her old tribe.

Jyl was one of the original founding members of the Asian American Repertory Theatre.  She has most recently performed with Dangerhouse Productions in The Love Suicides at Amijima and has been in past productions for AART, Fritz, Vantage Productions, and the San Diego Black Ensemble, in plays such as as Fool for Love, Wait Until Dark, Curse of the Starving Class, and Beirut to name a few.

Jyl graciously thanks her family and friends for their enduring love and support.  Also a gargantuan THANK YOU to Andy Lowe for the opportunity to perform such a nefarious yet charming character.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

~Anais Nin

Andy Lowe (Director / Producer / Pirate)-  Andy was a winner of the California Young Playwrights Contest in 1994, where his play The Cultural Hyphen was praised and endorsed by David Henry Hwang and Edward Albee. In 1995, he Co-founded the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre where he was the company's Producing Artistic Director for ten years ('95-'05) and over thirty-five full stage productions, and countless staged readings.  

In 2001 Andy helped inaugurate San Diego's first Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Festival ('01-'03), and has been an active board member, and participant for various Asian American community organizations including Organization of Chinese Americans, SD Alliance for APIA's, and an event coordinator for the Asian Cultural Festival, and Amp Music Festival.   For his work he has received various honors including two mayoral commendations and was recognized as one of the "Top 30 most influential Asian Americans Under the age of 30" of 2001 (Political Circus Magazine). 
After receiving a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program through the California State Library, Andy, with the Asian Story Theatre, developed Dear Miss Breed(’07) at the Lyceum Theatre, based on the award winning book by Joanne Oppenheim, and has volunteered his time mentoring and directing for UCSD's student driven Asian American Theater Festival.  Andy is currently employed with the La Jolla Playhouse where he serves as the Theatre in Residence Program Coordinator, and continues to independently develop theatrical projects through his own Chinese Pirate Productions brand, including last summer nationally acclaimed production of Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which he lovingly directed, produced and adapted (like the true"Fanboy" he is...)

Andy is happy to put another notch next to his personal David Henry Hwang checklist having produced, directed, or performed in M.Butterfly, Bondage, Trying to Find Chinatown and FOB, which incidentally was the first play he memorized at age 6 while being babysat back stage of Pacific Asian Actors Ensemble's1982 production at the old Marquis Public Theatre.

(Directing credits include; Trying to find Chinatown ('98), Cleveland Raining ('99), F.O.B ('01), The Goddess  Of  Flowers ('02),  Fentor ('03), Dear Miss Breed ('07), UCSD AATF 3, 4, 5 ('08-'10), Letters to a Student Revolutionary ('10), This Girl I Used to Know ('10), Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog-LIVE(San Diego)('11).
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