For Immediate Release
July 7, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
Contact: Kat Carrido
(213) 625-7000 x12
East West Players “2042: See Change” Playwriting
Competition Winners Announced
East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest running professional theatre of color and the largest creator of Asian Pacific artistic work, announces the winners of the 2042: See Change playwriting competition, funded with generous support from the James Irvine Foundation. The 2042: See Change initiative is a visionary goal for equity, diversity and inclusion for the American Theater. According to the US Census, by 2042, minorities are projected to become the majority. The “2042: See Change” Playwriting Competition received a record-breaking number of submissions that were professionally unproduced and explored the changing face of America.
“We’re pleased with the multitude of new stories coming from the field,” said Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director. “The American theatre must open up their storytelling to include the stories from all communities, invite the next generation to bring their innovation and inspiration to theatre; and offer equal opportunities in re-imagining the theatre. The future is already here and we look forward to other theaters embracing this change.”
“The theme of seeking plays that delve into the shifting demographics of the US seems to have caught onto something, based on the sheer volume and breadth of submissions,” says Snehal Desai, EWP Literary Manager and Artistic Associate. “It was an exceptional field of plays and the three winners stand out as sterling examples of reflecting our theme of 2042: See Change. The eight plays highlighted today are engaging, smart, and compelling works that incisively explore the changing American landscape with humor and humility. They really dove into the theme of cultural intersectionality and they are works that all of us involved with this competition look forward to seeing on the stage.”
The first place winner is “Base Degrees” by Nathan Ramos. “Base Degrees” explores the pursuit of success and its costs as Benji, a first generation Asian American struggles in New York City to find his voice as his writing career stalls. As the professional paths of his best friend Sheila and his half sister Laura begin to blossom, he begins to unravel. “Base Degrees” explores what lengths we are willing to go to realize our dreams, and whether morality is tied to upward mobility.
Nathan Ramos currently resides in New York City where he balances writing plays, acting, and teaching. Nathan is originally from Cleveland, OH and born to a Filipino Texan and a Korean immigrant. He holds a BFA in Acting from Ohio University. Ramos will receive a $5,000 prize.
The second place winner is “The Piano” by Robert Kuang. “The Piano” is about the death of a Chinese patriarch that forces three generations of Asian American women to live under the same roof for the first time. An Asian-Jewish-American family collides with music, food, and identity crises.
Robert Kuang was born in Beijing, China, and lived in Colorado for nine years before moving to New York City to attend New York University for playwriting. Robert is also an editorial director for a Korean pop culture online publication. Kuang will receive a $2,500 prize.
Rounding out the winners in third place is “Three Kingdoms” by Anna Moench. About the play: It’s summer in the suburbs, and Wendy’s father, Han, is arriving on a flight from China. After 40 years of no contact, they have a lot of catching up to do. Wendy has a happy family, a lovely home, and is living the American Dream. But when he arrives, everyone quickly realizes that picking up where they left off won’t be easy.
Anna Moench’s plays have been produced at 59E59, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea, NYU Tisch, the Old Vic, Indiana University of PA, Dance Theater Workshop, FringeNYC, and beyond. Awards include a NYFA Fellowship, a Jerome Fellowship, a Van Lier Fellowship, the Jerome Travel Grant, two EST/Sloan commissions, and residencies at Yaddo, Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE, and BRIC Arts. Current and upcoming productions include The Pillow Book at Baltimore’s Cohesion Theatre, coproduced by Strand Theater, and In Quietness at NYC’s Walker Space with Dutch Kills Theater. Moench will receive a $1,000 prize.
Honorable Mentions go to:
“Fall” by Audra Lord: A parent’s suicide provides the backdrop for this exploration of isolation, identity and assimilation in a family of Korean immigrants in this haunting story of redemption, love, and loss.
“No More Sad Things” by Hansol Jung: A girl catches a last-minute flight to Maui. A boy finds girl on the shores of Ka’anapali. Something strange and something familiar pulls them closer. They spend the week together. Maybe they even fall in love. But eventually girl catches the flight back home to Akron, Ohio. The girl is thirty-two. The boy is fifteen.
“Seamless” by Dorinne Kondo: Diane Kubota, a successful corporate attorney, has a seamlessly perfect life. When a Japanese American Harvard psychologist interviews Diane about her parents’ internment, the questions launch Diane’s quest to discover the most profound aspects of herself, her family, and her culture. A play about history, memory, and the (im)possibility of knowing the people you love most.
“Constitution Day” by Jonathan Calindas: An unemployed, depressed, Filipino blogger debates governmental policy and the current political climate with an imaginary James Madison as he tries to find out what it means to be American in today’s world.
“Alameda” by Jeremy Tiang: Having grown up in California barely connected to her Chinese roots, Joyce invites Fang, a distant relative from China, to visit – partly motivated by a vague desire for cultural authenticity (not to mention free childcare). What starts as a simple family visit turns sinister when it emerges that Fang may not be all that she seems. A story of cultural clashes and families connected across different worlds, “Alameda” explores how heritage can both limit and free us.
The judging panel included a distinguished group of diverse artists: Alice Tuan, Pier Carlo Talenti, Elise Dewsberry, Jeanne Mau, Whitney Davis, Lydia Garcia, Awoye Timpo, Vincent Murphy, Leslie Ishii, Alberto Isaac, Judy Soo Hoo, and Jennifer Chang.
East West Players will present readings of the winning plays over the coming year. Dates and times will be announced.
“2042: See Change,” East West Players’ own diversity initiative, includes this playwriting competition, the 51% Preparedness Plan for the American Theatre, a vision statement authored by Tim Dang, EWP’s Producing Artistic Director, and an effort to build a coalition of theatres and allies in preparing the American Theatre for the shift in American demographics.
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