Posts Tagged Ping Chong + Company

FACE TO FACE takes the stage

Hmong Community Members take center stage in new theatrical Production created with Ping Chong + Company

Media Contact – Connie Shaver 612.308.5785
shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

Image of 5 women in a group. They are in a mix of styles of clothing and are all smiling.

Saint Paul, Minn., Feb 24, 2020 – Park Square Theatre resumes its 2019-2020 season with the world premiere production of FACE TO FACE: HMONG WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES (Mar 5-15), an interview-based theater production co-written and co-directed by Sara Zatz (Associate Director, Ping Chong + Company) and Twin Cities theater artist Katie Ka Vang, featuring five local Hmong community members, all women, sharing their true stories on stage. Told with humor, heart, and courage, it addresses complex issues such as the history and arrival of the Hmong community in St. Paul, coming of age as a first-generation Hmong American, and finding your own voice and identity while balancing culture and family.

The project began in April 2019; then community info sessions were held, and the open call for participants started and continued through October. The script is created from extensive interviews conducted by Zatz and Vang with the five cast members, then woven together to tell performers’ individual experiences in a chronological narrative that connects the personal to the political, with final script approval maintained by the cast. Through their stories, the cast addresses topics including mental health and depression, bullying, domestic and sexual violence, gender identity, beauty standards and more.

The script is performed by the community interviewees themselves, not actors. The result is a highly theatrical and emotional story-telling experience; what Ping Chong + Company Artistic Director Ping Chong calls a “seated opera for the spoken word.”

FACE TO FACE is a partnership with the internationally renowned Ping Chong + Company, a New York leader in community-specific, interview-based theatre events. Written and directed by Sara Zatz and Katie Ka Vang, in collaboration with the performers, the project is part of Ping Chong + Company’s ongoing interview-based community–specific oral history theatre work, Undesirable Elements.

The performers include Laurine Chang, Houa Moua, Pang Chai Xiong, Pang Foua Xiong and Cydi Ywj Siab Yang.

The Production team includes Sara Zatz (Co-writer/Co-director), Katie Ka Vang (Co-writer/Co-director) Maxwell Collyard (Video Designer) Shannon Elliott (Light Designer), Ashley Raper (Stage Manager) and Akiem Scott (Sound Designer).

The project received special funding from the Saint Paul Cultural STAR program, the Marbrook Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

ABOUT THE LEAD ARTISTS

Sara Zatz (Co-writer/Co-director) is the Associate Director of Ping Chong + Company where she oversees the company’s community engagement and training programs, and is the lead-artistic collaborator with Ping Chong on the interview-based Undesirable Elements series, exploring issues of culture and identity in the lives of individuals in specific communities. She is the writer and director of Secret Survivors, a work in a series which explores the experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse. Recent productions include (Un)Conditional, with individuals living with chronic illness (Profile Theatre), Generation NYZ  with NYC teens (New Victory Theater, La MaMa ETC), Undesirable Elements: Dearborn (Arab American National Museum), and Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity (national touring). She has spoken and presented workshops on community-engaged theater at many conferences and universities. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her family.

Katie Ka Vang (Co-writer/Co-director) is a Hmong American Theater Artist and Playwright. Her work explores the complexities of identity. Her plays include WTF, Hmong Bollywood, 5:1 Meaning of Freedom; 6:2 Use of Sharpening, Myth of Xee, Fast FWD Motions, In Quarantine, FINAL ROUND and Spirit Trust. Her work has been developed and produced at Theater Mu, Pillsbury House Theatre, CHAT, Bushwick Starr, Bedlam Theatre, Theatre Unbound, Walker Art Center, Out North Art House, Intermedia Arts, Northern Sparks, The Royal Court (London) and Brown University. She’s received support from The Jerome Foundation, Knight Foundation, National Performance Network, Metropolitan Region Arts Council, and Minnesota State Arts Board. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University.

ABOUT PING CHONG + COMPANY COMMUNITY PROJECTS

“Generating empathy, defying small-mindedness, this is an inherently political show that arrives at a time of fervently uncivil discourse [and] believes in the power of storytelling to create a stronger, kinder culture.” The New York Times

“…consistently powerful and eye-opening.” The Washington Post

Ping Chong + Company produces works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times, creating theater that crosses boundaries of identity, community, and form.  Founded in 1975 by National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong, the company’s projects initiate dialogue about identity and the power of sharing individuals’ stories. This production is part of an ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works known as the Undesirable Elements series. Created in 1992 by Ping Chong, each production is made in a specific community, with local participants testifying to their real lives and experiences. The script is based on interviews with the participants who then share their own true stories in the final production. Since 1992, over 60 productions have been made across the United States and abroad. Recent productions have explored themes as far ranging as the disability experience, Native American identity, the experiences of refugees in the U.S., and the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse. Ping Chong + Company has created documentaries, toolkits, and training workshops and arts education programs for communities who wish to use the arts to address social justice issues in their own work.

Ticket prices: $16-$30. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #pstFACETOFACE

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Regular Run: Mar 5-15, 2020
Opening Night Reception: Mar 6
Post-show discussions: Mar 8 and 15

Tickets: $16-30
PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul
Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

PHOTOS by Tomas Leal at parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/

The Ticket Office is open from noon to 5:00 pm Wednesday through Friday. Call 651.291.7005.

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. parksquaretheatre.org

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Park Square Announces 45th Season

Park Square Announces 45th Season

First Season for new Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino Features Big Scale, Big Heart, Three Musicals and One World Premiere

MEDIA CONTACT

Connie Shaver, shaver@parksquaretheatre.org

 

Saint Paul, Minn., Feb. 14, 2019 – Park Square Theatre announced its 45th theatre season for 2019-2020 today. This is the first season to be created by Artistic Director Flordelino Lagundino, who took the reins of the theatre on August 1, 2018, after a national search. Flordelino will direct two shows in his first season, both by Korean American playwrights: AUBERGINE by Julia Cho and UN (the completely true story of the rise of Kim Jong Un) by John Kim.

Flordelino is building on Park Square’s commitment to new work with regional premieres, as well as one world premiere. He is also continuing former Artistic Director Richard Cook’s legacy of guaranteeing that every season includes at least one directing debut by introducing Park Square audiences to nationally recognized directors Mark Valdez, Ilana Ransom Toeplitz and Madeline Sayet, as well as local powerhouses Marcela Lorca and Lisa Channer.

“I wanted my first season to have an emphasis on community and to show as many people as possible that they have a place at Park Square and that they belong here,” said Flordelino. “I’ve been listening carefully to our community my first five months in town and am working to provide us all with stories that uplift, entertain, prod, and ultimately help us understand each other as fellow humans. And I think this is a moment in time when we all need to get up and dance!”

The season opens with that exact counterpoint: a delicious human drama on the Boss and plenty of dance moves on the Proscenium.

First on the Boss Stage will be the area premiere of AUBERGINE (Sept 20 – Oct 20, 2019) by Julia Cho, author of The Language archive, directed by Flordelino Lagundino. In this poignant and lyrical new play, a son cooks a meal for his dying father to say everything that words can’t. Since this first-generation Korean American speaks English and only limited Korean, the making of a perfect meal is an expression more precise than language, and the medium through which his love gradually reveals itself.

“This was one of the most beautiful plays I have ever read,” says Flordelino. “When I encountered it for the first time, I felt it was the best play I had read by an Asian American author in the last ten years. The writing feels so personal. It is a humorous and sensitive play about memories, food, and a relationship fractured by the loss of native language and the distance created between families because of war and the resulting Korean diaspora.”

The season continues on the Park Square Proscenium Stage with the Tony Award-nominated campy rock musical THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Richard O’Brien (Sept 27 – Nov 2, 2019), directed by Ilana Ransom Toeplitz. “I really want to rock the house and upend the way that people think of Park Square,” says Flordelino. “This is a great show to bring the generations together – those that stood in line as teenagers to see the original movie in 1975 (coincidentally the year Park Square opened), and young people experiencing it for their first time. I want the walls to shake and for people to get up, dance, laugh and have a good time!”

Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW will be Toeplitz’s Park Square and Twin Cities directing debut. She has served as associate director for the national tours of DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE and A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL!, as well as being a Drama League Director’s Project Alum (2017 Leo Shull New Musicals Directing Fellow). “The whole night should feel like a party that’s been locked up in a time machine for years, begging to come out and play,” says Toeplitz. “It all culminates in Frank-N-Furter’s epic floor show, which has all the glitz of a David Bowie concert combined with all of the glam of an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Audience participation is encouraged.”

A special one-week only presentation of PAIGE IN FULL by Paige Hernandez will take to the Boss Stage (Oct 25– 27, 2019). This unique experience blends poetry, dance, media and music to share a multicultural girl’s journey through hip-hop to self-discovery. Since its premiere in 2010, this “visual mix-tape” has sold out performances throughout the country and garnered praise from critics and audiences alike for its energy, intelligence, and originality.

Paige in Full

Warren Bowles

Park Square will offer just one weekend of general audience performances of its critically acclaimed production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, directed by Warren Bowles (Boss Stage, Dec 6-8, 2019), with student matinees playing (Nov 18 – Dec 20, 2019).

Lisa Channer

For the holidays on the Proscenium Stage, Park Square continues its tradition of “counter programming” by featuring the regional premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019) adapted from the Jane Austen classic by Kate Hamill (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, LITTLE WOMEN) and directed by Lisa Channer in her Park Square debut. This clever comedy offers a decidedly progressive take on the trials of Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, and the whole Bennet clan, with a few dance breaks thrown in for good measure. “I love it because of the emphasis on the actor and the emphasis on theatricality,” says Flordelino. “Many of the actors play multiple roles and there is a sense of joy and abandon. Like the original Austen, it also gets to the depths of what it means to really fight for love and family.”

Mark Valdez

2020 kicks off on the Proscenium with a brand-new take on the Broadway musical EVITA by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber, directed by Mark Valdez in his Park Square debut with musical direction by Denise Prosek and choreography by Joe Chvala (Jan 17 – Mar 1, 2020). “Mark is blowing the dust off this classic,” says Flordelino. “He is taking on how populism meets politics. What does it take to rise up in today’s society and make a name for yourself? And at what cost do we make our way up the ladder of success and power in any political environment?”

Valdez, who directs frequently at Mixed Blood Theatre, just received the Americans for the Arts 2019 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, a $65,000 award that will help Mark continue his ground-breaking work in community-based theatre engagement.

The world premiere of UN (the completely true story of Kim Jong Un) by John Kim (Feb 7 – Mar 1, 2020) will be directed by Flordelino Lagundino, who was involved in the early development of the play at Pan Asian Rep in New York City. The play is a hilarious, irreverent, and brutal take on the life and rise to power of Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It chronicles his life as teen who loves basketball, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, through the shaping of his mythology as the Supreme Leader. “John Kim and I have known each other for about 20 years,” shares Flordelino. “We met when I directed him in David Henry Hwang’s THE SOUND OF A VOICE when John was an undergrad actor at George Mason University. His script looks at the often-insane ways in which power is given and taken, and how the western world looks and frames power from countries that do not share its Eurocentric origins.”

FACE TO FACE: OUR HMONG COMMUNITY (Boss Stage, Mar 5 – 15, 2020) is a first-ever partnership between Park Square and the internationally-renowned Ping Chong + Company, a New York-based leader in innovative community-based theatre engagement. FACE TO FACE will be a community-specific, interview-based theater piece examining issues of culture and identity within Saint Paul’s vibrant Hmong Community. This original play will feature members from the Hmong community that will tell their stories – in their own words. “Minnesota has crossed an important and exciting cultural threshold,” says Executive Director Michael-jon Pease, “with more state legislators named ‘Xiong’ than ‘Johnson.’ This project is a way to explore the many facets of a community who are woven into our Minnesota fabric.”

FACE TO FACE is a larger series of theatre-based engagement projects which lifts up different parts of our community so that we all can know each other just a little bit better,” says Flordelino.

Marcela Lorca

The community spirit continues with the Midwest premiere of MISS YOU LIKE HELL by Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE, WATER BY THE SPOONFUL, In the Heights) and acclaimed, genre-breaking singer/songwriter Erin McKeown (Apr 17 – May 17, 2020). Marcela Lorca is directing. The musical recently played Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in 2018, where it was nominated for five Drama Desk Awards, including Best Lyrics, Best Music and Best Orchestrations.

After living estranged from each other for years, 16-year old Olivia and her mom, an undocumented immigrant on the verge of deportation, embark on a road trip that crosses state lines. Together they meet Americans of different backgrounds, shared dreams, and complicated truths in this powerful new show with vast heart and fierce humor.

Michael Evan Haney

Summer in Saint Paul kicks off on the Proscenium Stage with Jeffrey Hatcher’s twisting, tantalizing mystery HOLMES AND WATSON (Jun 12 – Jul 26, 2020) directed by Michael Evan Haney. Sherlock Holmes has been dead three years when Dr. Watson receives a message from a mental asylum: three patients are claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Did the world’s greatest sleuth fake his own death? Who is the real detective and who are the imposters? “Jeffrey is a local playwriting legend,” says Flordelino. “This mystery is Hatcher at his best. The writing is driving, taut, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.” Director Michael Evan Haney will make his Park Square directing debut. “Jeffrey Hatcher has built his play upon one of the most famous mysteries in English Literature—the death? (Disappearance?) of Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls” added Haney. “ He has created a Rubik’s Cube of a plot in HOLMES AND WATSON—a fast paced 90 minutes of suspense, mystery and thrills.”

The summer fun continues with guillotines and a cry for liberty on the Boss Stage with the regional premiere of THE REVOLUTIONISTS by Lauren Gunderson (Jun 19 – Jul 19, 2020). Four badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, woman-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.

Madeline Sayet

THE REVOLUTIONISTS will be directed by Madeline Sayet in her Park Square Theatre debut. Sayet is a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama and a member of the FORBES 30 Under 30 in Hollywood and Entertainment for her work as a director, writer, performer and educator. “This story is biting and playful, full of passion, humor and poignant truths for all of us — not just those who die for causes, but everyone who tries to stand up,” says Sayet. “It immediately made me think of the Oscar Wilde quote, ‘If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.’”

In addition to the full season of public performances, Park Square will continue to serve the region’s largest teen theatre audience with 127 daytime matinees for students in 7th-12th grade from select shows in the season as well as from its repertory of literary classics ROMEO & JULIET, adapted and directed by David Mann, and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, directed by Ellen Fenster.

 

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now. Current subscribers have priority in ordering through March. Seating of new subscriptions will begin in April. Season packages range in size from all eight plays and three add-ons in the season to a choose-your-own series of three or more. Subscription package prices begin at $66.

 

The Ticket Office is open from noon to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. Call 651.291.7005.

PHOTO LINKS

Madeline Sayet

Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

Michael Evan Haney headshot

Flordelino Lagundino and Michael-jon Pease headshots by Amy Anderson HERE

Paige in Full

Ping Chong + Co

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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. parksquaretheatre.org

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