East West Players
invites you to
a series of community conversations and readings

East West Players is pleased to present a new series of community conversations and readings titled, Counter-Culture. The Counter-Culture series will explore themes that vary from immigration, homelessness, gun control, to how to create art in these challenging political times.

Counter-Culture is made possible by the generous support of:

In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Korematsu v. US (1944), East West Players and SCOTUS Theater will host a reading featuring excerpts from this case and from Trump v. Hawaii (2018). In Korematsu, the Court declared the internment of Japanese-Americans constitutional; Trump v. Hawaii overturned Korematsu but upheld bans on travel from multiple Muslim-majority countries. A post-show discussion will provide context, engaging questions of justice, liberty, exclusion, and the limitations of the courts. Aimed at artists, activists, citizens, and community leaders, this event is presented in partnership with East West Players. Directed by Becca Wolff.

When: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 • 7:30 pm
Where: Tateuchi Democracy Forum • National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (across the walkway from JANM’s entrance)

Suggested donation $20 • RSVP is complimentary – in the check-out process there is a field to make a donation. Cash and check donations will be accepted at the door.
$20 suggested donation benefiting organizations working to protect the civil rights of immigrants.

Homeward LA is a 10-day citywide event where multiple productions of monologues, based on real stories from people who have been homeless, are performed by hundreds of actors in venues all around Los Angeles, bringing attention to the homeless crisis and raising funds for nonprofit organizations committed to ending homelessness.

Join us for this special reading of 10 selected pieces from the first two years of Homeward LA.

Tuesday, October 29 , 2019 | 7:30PM
Location: East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Free and open to the public – RSVPs are appreciated

For more information on Homeward LA, visit http://homewardla.org.

SYNOPSIS After the War takes place in the aftermath of World War II in San Francisco’s Western Addition District where some Japanese Americans returned from internment camps. African Americans who came to San Francisco were seeking work, white Southern migrants were looking for economic opportunity, and Russian Jews were arriving to start new lives. All the characters struggle to get along with limited resources while trying to find their place in this mix of cultures. Central character Chet Monkawa is a jazz trumpeter who returns to his family’s rooming house after the internment, but his old neighborhood isn’t the same. The rooming house is now filled with new transplants, and Chet and his fellow boarders must find a new harmony amidst uncertain times.

Join us on July 28 for a reading of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s “Snow in Midsummer” – part of A Noise Within’s inVision: A Words Within Reading Festival. This event is free, but passes are available for $150 ($100 is tax deductible) to support the festival and include meal and drink vouchers, along with priority seating. Click or tap the photo to learn more!

“Snow in Midsummer” by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (based on the classic Chinese drama by Guan Hanqing)
A reading presented by the East West Players

As she is about to be executed for a murder she didn’t commit, young widow Dou Yi vows that, if she is innocent, snow will fall in midsummer and a catastrophic drought will strike. Three years later, a businesswoman visits the parched, locust-plagued town to take over an ailing factory. When her young daughter is tormented by an angry ghost, the new factory owner must expose the injustices Dou Yi suffered before the curse destroys every living thing. A contemporary re-imagining by acclaimed playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig of one of the most famous classical Chinese dramas, which breathes new life into this ancient story, haunted by centuries of retelling.


God Said This (a reading)
by Leah Nanako Winkler

Directed by Deena Selenow
Tuesday, June 25 | 7:30PM

Location: Tateuchi Democracy Forum
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (across from JANM)
Free and open to the public – RSVPs are appreciated

Set in Kentucky, this compelling drama centers around a mixed-race, Japanese American family reunited as their matriarch undergoes cancer treatment. The father, James, is a recovering alcoholic seeking redemption, and the two daughters are struggling to overcome their differences—Sophie is an ardent born-again Christian, while Hiro lives a single life in New York. Vividly capturing the complexities of a familial reconciliation in the throes of a crisis, this play also looks deeply meaning of family-Japanese, Southern, and otherwise.

Leah Nanako Winkler is a Japanese American playwright from Kamakura, Japan, and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include Kentucky (Ensemble Studio Theater, East West Players), Two Mile Hollow (Artists at Play and theaters around the country) and God Said This (Actors Theater of Louisville, Primary Stages). She is the inaugural winner of the Mark O’Donnell Prize, the recipient of the 2018 Yale Prize and a current Jerome Fellow at the Lark.

Social Justice Through the Arts
Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30PM
Tateuchi Democracy Forum
National Center for the Preservation for Democracy (across from JANM)
111 N. Central Ave, Los Angeles CA 90012

As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA and East West Players decided to team together to create a community conversation focused on social justice through the arts. As presented through EWP’s Counter Culture Series, the panel today aims to create space for and celebrate Asian American voices just as these panelists have created space for and celebrated themselves within the arts. Panelists include Prince Gomolvilas, D’lo Kid, Dorinne Kondo, Steph & Eddy, Alice Tuan, and Jeff Yang.

Meet the Panelists:

Prince Gomolvilas’s plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, The Theory of Everything, and Mysterious Skin, all of which have been produced by East West Players. His work has been staged across the United States, as well as in Canada, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. He is the former Associate Director of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where he was also an Assistant Professor in Writing. His TEDx Talk, “Mind the Gap,” is available at www.princegomolvilas.com.

is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comic. His solo shows have toured the college circuit, and theaters & festivals internationally. His work has been published or written about in academic journals anthologies with features in The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ organizations nationally. His acting credits include: LOOKING (HBO), TRANSPARENT (Amazon), SENSE 8 (Netflix), Mr. ROBOT (USA) and the Issa Rae-produced show MINIMUM WAGE.
Dorinne Kondo is Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Her latest book Worldmaking: Race, Performance and the Work of Creativity (Duke University Press, 2018) analyzes race and power in the theater industry and includes her play Seamless, about the emotional afterlife of Japanese American incarceration. She served as dramaturg for three plays by Anna Deavere Smith, including Twilight: Los Angeles, about the 1992 uprisings.

Stephanie Sajor and Eddy M. Gana Jr.
, also known as Steady, are spoken word artists and community organizers based in Los Angeles.They are Co-Directors of Sunday Jump, an open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, and leaders of Kabataang maka-Bayan or KmB / Pro-People Youth, a progressive organization that raises the next generation’s social consciousness.They have been published in TAYO Literary Magazine, the Asian American Literary Review, and Salamin Magazine. They have performed on KSCI-TV LA18, KPCC 89.3 FM/Unheard LA, at Grand Park in Downtown LA, the LA Theater Center, the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, Brava Theater in San Francisco, the Museum of Tolerance, and more. They served as co-curators of Literary Arts for the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture from 2013-2017.

Alice Tuan
is an internationally-produced playwright, teacher, dramaturg. She received both the Sherwood Award (Mark Taper Forum, LA) and the Colbert Award for Excellence (Downtown Arts Project, NY) for emerging playwright. Tuan is best known for AJAX (POR NOBODY) (Flea Theater, Melbourne Fringe, Salvage Vangard, Toronto SummerWorks). She facilitated the Almasi African Playwrights Conference in Zimbabwe January 2018 and 2019. Before she was a playwright, Tuan taught English as Second Language in China and Los Angeles.

Jeff Yang
, a New York Times bestselling author and veteran cultural critic, is a featured contributor for CNN, a columnist for the South China Morning Post’s Inkstone magazine, and a frequently heard voice on NPR. He cohosts the podcast THEY CALL US BRUCE with Phil Yu (“Angry Asian Man”). His elder son, Hudson Yang, plays Eddie Huang on the groundbreaking ABC sitcom FRESH OFF THE BOAT, which just completed its fifth season.

Cocks Crow (a reading)
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 7:30PM
By Alice Tuan
Directed by Jennifer Chang

FREE and open to the public – RSVPs are appreciated

Location: Tateuchi Democracy Forum
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (across from JANM)
111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Cocks Crow is what happens when Americans try to do business with China: is it a bad internet connection or are we being surveilled? Compelled by ambition, anxiety, and diminishing options at home, two Americans, Bill Peck and Shelly Larkin, pursue wealth on capitalism’s wild new frontier. They land at Yankee Doodle Do, an American diner in Shanghai, where they find Agnes Deng is “representing” Han Jia Wei, the elusive Chinese bureaucrat they are trying to cut a deal with. Enter US-er (United States-er) Rafael Chan into the mix to activate and derail this play about super power deflation in the new century.

Alice Tuan is an internationally-produced playwright, teacher and dramaturg. She received both the Sherwood Award (Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles) and the Colbert
Award for Excellence (Downtown Arts Project, New York) as an emerging playwright in 2000. Tuan is best known for AJAX (POR NOBODY) (Flea Theater, Salvage Vangard, Melbourne Fringe). It was staged at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival in 2012 and written about in ‘The Shelf Life of Shock’ (The Drama Review, F’13). AJAX (POR
NOBODY) along with three other Tuan works are archived in the Billy Rose Collection at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. A Humbling in St. Paul was presented in PlayLabs at the Playwright Center in October 2017. Her play HIT premiered at Los Angeles Theater Center in May 2014. Other notable productions include BATCH: An
American Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle (Humana Festival, New American Plays, Actors Theater of Louisville), LAST OF THE SUNS (Berkeley Rep, Ma-Yi Theater NY), THE ROARING GIRLE, (Foundry Theater NY), IKEBANA (East West Players/Taper, Too, Dramalogue Award) and COASTLINE (Serious Play! Edinburgh Fringe). Ms. Tuan has taught at USC, the Playwright Center, the Michener Center, Cal Arts and East West Players. Since 2013, Tuan has been a playwright-in-residence at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. She facilitated the 2nd and 3rd Almasi African Playwrights Conference in Harare Zimbabwe in January 2018 and 2019. Her essay on 17 th century dynamo Moll Cutpurse (aka the Roaring Girle) will be published in the Foundry Theater’s A Moment on the Clock of the World in Fall 2019. Before she was a playwright, Tuan taught English as a Second Language in China and Los Angeles.


Panorama (a reading)
Tuesday, October 16 , 2018 | 7:30PM
By Prince Gomolvilas
Directed by Tim Dang

FREE and open to the public – RSVPs are appreciated

Location: Tateuchi Democracy Forum
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (across from JANM)
111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

On a clear day in Rochester, New York, in 1871, atop an observation tower that used to stand on Mount Hope Cemetery’s highest point, thousands of people witnessed a remarkable phenomenon which came to be known as “The Rochester Mirage.” Several days later, a group of locals returns to the scene of the strange sight. Panorama delves deep into a city’s hidden history; reveals the unexpected alliance between the African-, Asian-, and Irish-American communities; and uncovers the untold stories that helped shape this nation.

Prince Gomolvilas’s plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, The Theory of Everything, and the stage adaptation of the Scott Heim novel, Mysterious Skin, all of which have been produced by East West Players. The Theory of Everythingwon the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Drama, and was published by Dramatic Publishing. His work has been staged across the United States, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Thailand. His new play, The Brothers Paranormal, will receive its world premiere at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York City in 2019, followed by a co-production between Penumbra Theatre and Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has received new-play commissions from Geva Theatre Center and South Coast Repertory, as well as from the education departments at the Alley Theatre and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. He received his BA in Film and MFA in Playwriting from San Francisco State University. He is the former Associate Director of the multidisciplinary Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, where he was also an Assistant Professor in Writing. www.princegomolvilas.com

Artists’ Town Hall
Monday, Sept. 17
 – 7:30PM
Led by Beth Pickens

Join East West Players on Monday, September 17 for an Artists Town Hall featuring guest speaker Beth Pickens, a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations, and the author of Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press, 2016). Inspired by ideas from Pickens’ revelatory guidebook to making art in the current political climate, the Artists’ Town Hall will involve community conversations about how to create meaningful art and theater that engages with today’s most pressing issues.

About Beth Pickens:
I am a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations. I provide career consultation, grant writing, fundraising, and financial, project and strategic planning services for clients throughout the US. I earned my M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Before relocating to Los Angeles in 2014, I was based in San Francisco where I served as Senior Program Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Managing Director of both RADAR Productions and the Queer Cultural Center.  I specialize in supporting queer and trans artists, women, and artists of color. I understand artists as people who are deeply, profoundly compelled to be creatively engaged. Making work and creative practice are central to an artist’s well-being and how an artist understands and processes being on the planet. I integrate person-centered Rogerian therapy training, financial management and fundraising, feminist analysis and capitalist critique, and goal-oriented actions to move my clients in the direction of their ambition. We focus on both the internal and the external work necessary to build their art career.

Read an excerpt from Beth’s book, Your Art Will Save Your Lifehere.

Information on her her tool-kit pamphlet, Making Art During Fascismhere.

More information at http://www.bethpickens.com/.

FEME (First Syllable Female) Readings
Sunday, August 26, 2018
5:00PM – Excerpts by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Jeanne Sakata, Alice Tuan, and Kristina Wong
6:45PM –  15-minute intermission
7:00PM – Reading of Sinkhole by Erin La Rosa
Location: East West Players


Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

THE NEW PLANET by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Cast: Brooke Ishibashi, Intae Kim, Marianne Lauren, Natasha Liu, James Tang
Stage Directions: Chloe Madriaga
Featuring musical works from THE NEW PLANET by Michael Roth

In this musical saga set in the wastelands of the anthropocene, Hamnet, is an albino rat who, along with his clone Fred, has been liberated from an abnormal psych lab. He searches for purpose in his new home in the sewer, where a group of male sewer rats plot to exterminate the human race and a pair of opioid-addicted amphibians soothe their pain with pharmaceuticals they distill from human urine. Meanwhile, above the sewer a pair of assimilated aliens working for Earth’s border patrol struggle to reconcile their histories on other planets with their new life on Earth, just as Earthlings have voted to exit the Intergalactic Federation and isolate themselves from the rest of the universe.

Jeanne Sakata

A new one-person play based on Aiko Herzog-Yoshinaga by Jeanne Sakata
Cast: Jeanne Sakata
Stage Directions: On Shiu

Alice Tuan

SPIN, STIR by Alice Tuan
Cast: Alice Tuan, Kristina Wong
Stage Directions: Cedric Ikaika Jonathan

As planets spin and innards stirs, Lala continues her quest for song.

Kristina Wong

Cast: Kristina Wong


Erin La Rosa

SINKHOLE by Erin La Rosa
Cast: Kurt Kanazawa, Jeanne Sakata, Skylar Schock, Kristina Wong
Stage Directions: Alice Tuan

We all have people from our past we don’t want to think about, but what if that person showed up on your doorstep? We’ll meet Leah — utterly type-A and a total people pleaser — who is dragged back into her twisted, drunk, and hilarious past when her long-lost party pal, Summer, suddenly comes to visit. This dark comedy examines the age-old question, “Can someone ever really change?”


SCOTUS Theater Los Angeles Reading
Saturday, August 25, 2018 | 7:30PM
Directed by Becca Wolff
$15 admission (proceeds go to ACLU of Southern California)
Location: East West Players

Run time: 2 hours (reading 70 minutes, intermission, panel 30-40 minutes)

Cast: Anil Kumar*, Araceli Prasarttongosoth, Dan Gold, Dana Lee*, Dian Kobayashi*, Ben Guillory*, John Lavelle*, Amy Lizardo*, Giovanni Adams, and Robert Parsons*

*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

This event features a collaboration between EWP and SCOTUS Theater, a Bay Area-based organization that brings together communities of artists, activists, and concerned individuals to hear and consider Supreme Court cases. It includes a reading of SCOTUS Theater’s 2017 reading of arguments in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a Supreme Court case that challenged the prolonged detention of migrants.

This revival, which will incorporate texts from the argument, decision, and dissent, provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on the jurisprudence that underlies US immigration policy. Directed by Becca Wolff, the reading will be performed by lawyers and professional actors. The reading will be followed by an expert panel featuring Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU of Southern California, who argued Jennings v. Rodriguez on behalf of the respondents. The panel will delve into issues raised by the case: our moral and legal obligations to migrants in detention, and the current legal and political landscape.