(including plays without an intermission)
A Winter’s CaptiveA Comical Calamity
Miguel Angel Flores, a 23-year-old homeless undocumented immigrant, falls to his death through the ice of a pond in Central Park. No one reports him missing. Erica, the only witness, is thrown into a whirlwind journey from Jamestown to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to the trial of Ethel Rosenberg—accompanied by the stranger, Miguel—until she must make a decision about her own life.
In America Dreaming, Yuki, a young Asian American woman, suddenly finds herself time traveling through a fictitious version of American history. She travels to the time of the Great Depression, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the future. Each period contains false memories, historical inaccuracies, and fragments of truth. She is returned to the present when she finds something like her identity.
Inspired by Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, the play explores the desire for an eternal existence. Chopin appears as a character and watches her novel on stage as she writes it, lives in 1899 as well as ceaselessly, and is almost interchangeable with her own heroine, Edna. She exists to live and die her own life, which had already happened in real time. She also witnesses Edna’s life, her own creation, as time rewinds and fast-forwards in fictional time. Throughout the play, the novel is both in the process of being written and already completed.
Broken Morning: Stories from the Death Row Factory
Broken Morning is based on interviews with men on death row at the Huntsville prison; death row guards, the captain, warden, and chaplain; a woman on death row in the Gatesville prison, Texas; and victims’ family members in Dallas. The play takes place in the sewing factory at the Ellis One Unit of the prison where men awaiting execution go to work every weekday. Interwoven with their stories of violence, poverty and personal demons are the stories of people who surround the business of death row and the sorrow and hopes of the victims’ families. The play contains songs: lyrics by Mark Campbell and music by Daniel Sonenberg. A version without songs is also available.
Comet Hunter is a magical play based on the courageous and moving life of the first recognized woman astronomer in history, Caroline Herschel. Born in 1750 in Hanover, Germany, Caroline followed her brother William, the celebrated astronomer, to England when she was twenty-two. She was a strange looking woman, her growth stunted at age twelve from typhus. She devoted her life to assisting her brother and never married. The play is a story about a brother and a sister who share the celestial enchantment, and major breakthroughs that Caroline made in the field of astronomy, conquering societal prejudice and her own loneliness. She is guided by a prophet, a woman, who is “Time,” who makes hope for the future and healing of memories possible.
Alice is a waitress in New York City. Her brother Peter is homeless. Their mother Anna is missing. Alice meets a mysterious stranger who pretends that they are a couple. This man, Matt, is haunted by a ghost who is an “everywoman”—a shape-shifting incarnation of ordinary women from the U.S. past. A haunting, homeless, waitressing, unemployed, missing, murdering, suicide love story.
I Came to Look for You on Tuesday
Reunion with her mother, who was swept away by the tsunami, is impossible for Maia. She hopes by swimming across the largest lake in the world to find her mother’s spirit. Along the way, we meet twenty characters, each of them longing to find someone they have lost in times of natural disaster or war. I Came to Look for You on Tuesday is a surprising and mythical story about our need to reconnect.
I Have Been To Hiroshima Mon Amour
I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour is a rebuttal to Marguerite Duras’s Hiroshima Mon Amour. The play revolves around two love stories: one is played out in memories between a Japanese man, who returns from fighting in WWII to Hiroshima, and a Japanese woman, who dies instantly at the moment of the detonation of the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945; and the other between the same man and a French actress in 1959 in “restored” Hiroshima. The Japanese woman (or her “ghost”) time-travels to 1959 to act in a film about peace that the French actress is shooting, and then to the present day U.S. to watch it on a DVD. The play is about the singular tragedy of atomic war told through the personal losses of three characters with occasional yet unmistakable humor.
Jamaica Avenue combines harsh reality with magic. It is about three intertwining and transforming lives: a man, a spirit who comes back as a woman, and a woman who becomes a ghost. Their stories about drug addiction, stealing, hurting, longing, finding, and surviving span fourteen years of love, disappointment, and hope.
Leaf, a forensic anthropologist, comes back to her hometown, Tucson, AZ, to find out that her high school friend Sharon has died. She suspects that Sharon, who was mentally ill, died because of family neglect. She contacts a local reporter, and together, they set off to discover the true cause of Sharon’s death. During this process, a vague portrait of Sharon is constructed based on the memories of others who once knew her. Leaf is a play about memory and identity. It explores how we all depend on the fragile nature of human memory to give us immortality.
Leaving Eden is inspired by Chekhov’s life and stories. Fifteen characters appear and disappear and reappear in Russia over a span of twenty-five years (1880-1905); and then somehow they all end up at a wedding reception in New York City in the present. The characters are at once comic and tragic and their journeys complex in the tradition of Chekhov.
This Lingering Life
At turns poignant and hilarious, like the classic Noh plays which inspired it, the play looks at the human condition through the Buddhist concept of Karma and explores the deep human desires and attachment. Taking place in the present time in someplace like the U.S., except when it happens elsewhere or in an ancient era, This Lingering Life follows the journeys of a woman with tragic hair, feudal warriors, a mother whose son was kidnapped, a blind beggar, dead lovers, an old man in love with a teenager, a boy whose father is an arrow, and other sentient beings as they seek answers to Life’s biggest questions.
Thousand Years Waiting
Thousand Years Waiting is a storytelling piece with original music and movement, threading three generations of women’s memories through time and space. A woman today, in New York City, is reading a memoir written one thousand years ago by a woman in Japan; the woman writing her memoir in old Japan is reading The Tale of Genji. The history of storytelling is woven like a spider’s web, and the woman in the present steps in and out of real and fictional worlds in the past.
Way to Curaçao
A partially whimsical play about memories of tragedies
Way to Curaçao begins in August 1940 in Lithuania, where Japanese Ambassador Sugihara has exactly 29 days to hand-write thousands of transit visas for Jewish refugees to go through Japan, to reach the Caribbean island of Curacao, where no entry visa is needed. No one would choose to leave Japan after a long Trans-Siberian Railway journey and a boat ride to the port of Kobe. More than 70 years later in NYC, a mother and a daughter who have never met Sugihara try to preserve, dismantle, and ultimately, rebuild memory of him.
Adopted from the 1721 Japanese Bunraku puppet play by Chikamatsu, Woman Killer is the story of two ordinary upper-class American families and a terrible tragedy that destroys their lives. A young man strays so far from the life that he was meant to live that in a moment of despair, he kills a neighbor for money. This desperate act erupts at the end of a long personal descent riddled with debt, rage, and jealousy. This intense play explores the nature of human violence from both perspectives of the trauma, the aggressor’s and the victim’s. It transcends time, place, and culture to portray a sobering story of a murder, too familiar in the society in which we live today.
after Chekhov’s The Proposal
Red Again/ Antigone Project
(From the full length play, Antigone Project, written by Karen Hartman, Caridad Svich, Tanya Barfield, Lynn Nottage and Chiori Miyagawa)
Red Again takes place in two places simultaneously—one is the serene underworld where Antigone and her lover Haemon find themselves after their deaths, and the other is the world of the living where Antigone’s sister Irene is left alone with the consequences of choosing to live. While the world disintegrates around her, time collapses and Irene experiences World War I, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and 9/11 all at the same time, as if caught in a loop of a terrifying movie called modern human history. But in the underground, Antigone finds books that correspond to the lives in the world of the living and finds hope in the unfinished stories.
Yesterday’s Window is a poetic play about a woman and her imaginary daughter, and the outside world that intrudes on their loving relationship, which is full of wonder and joy. The play stands on its own; however, it is also a companion piece to Nothing Forever and can be performed by the same actors.
Antigone’s Red is set in a relocation camp in the middle of a desert for Japanese citizens during World War II. Antigone’s lover Tadashi is faced with making a decision on loyalty questions that the government imposes on imprisoned Japanese Americans. In this hostile setting, Tadashi is killed, and Antigone decides to bury his body against the government restrictions.