Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings
2019 Reading One
Susan H. Pak
Susan H. Pak is a Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright and Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar. She received an MFA in writing for the screen and stage at Northwestern University; she received both a BA in English and a JD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her plays have been produced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and include: Marabar at Chicago Dramatists, Ghost Girl at the Workshop Theater, T.A.B. at New York’s Downtown Urban Theater Festival, and the Manhattan Repertory Theater Festival; Haters at New York’s Midtown International Theater Festival; Baby Shower at New York’s Network One Act Festival; Incredible Invisible at Chicago’s Bailiwick Director’s Fest; Ladies’ Man at Chicago Dramatists; and The Writers at Theater Unleashed in Los Angeles. Her full-length play Boys enjoyed a 12-week run at the Tinfish Theater in Chicago.
Preston Choi is a Chicago based playwright/actor whose work focuses on Asian American history, the mixed race experience, and social science fiction. His plays have been developed/produced with Silk Road Rising, A Squared Theatre, Artists at Play, CAATA, Victory Gardens, G45 Productions, Wave Productions, Purple Crayon Players and Vertigo Productions. His play A Great Migration won the 2017 Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award, and was a finalist for Playwrights Realm’s 2018-2019 Scratchpad Series. He was the recipient of an Undergraduate Research Grant from Northwestern University for research into plastic surgery, aesthetic beauty, and reality television. He graduated from Northwestern University in 2018 with a BS in Theatre within the Playwriting Module. He also embroiders, specifically eyeballs.
Alvin Dantes is a Filipino-American singer, actor, and librarian. He is a member of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago and has recently been seen in productions with Circa-Pintig, Beverly Theatre Guild, and Edge of the Wood Theatre. He is interested in immigrant and minority perspectives and discussions about colonization, assimilation, and citizenship… but then he wrote a funny, short play about stalking people on social media. You can find him on social media (but don’t) or go read his reviews on www.is-it-any-good.com.
Zhen E Rammelsberg
Zhen E Rammelsberg is a Korean adoptee who was raised in Iowa. Being told by Midwestern family members that if she had “nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all” and being a natural-born contrarian – Zhen E decided to become a writer and say whatever she “darn well pleased.” Besides just speaking her mind, Zhen E is an entrepreneur of 4 businesses as well as an active volunteer for many charities, arts organizations and causes. Zhen E wrote her first play last year called “Canst Thou Hearest Thee Now” and it has been published as well as produced and performed at least 3 times within the last year. Zhen E hopes this piece “Black Box” resonates with anyone who has an adoptee story as well as anyone who has been bullied or made to feel lesser and has had to fight to define who they are in the world. Zhen E wants to thank Robert — the Spock to her Kirk — for making all of her dreams possible and for Jordan and Pip and Toulouse for loving her unconditionally. She dedicates this piece to her biological Mother, wherever and whoever she is.
Chorus in “Black Box”
Francesca Atian is an actor and theatre technician based in Chicago. Her most recent work was featured in Distracted (Dr. Zavala/Carolyn/Waitress; The Cuckoo’s Theater Project), American Hwangap (Esther, understudy; A-Squared Theater/Halcyon Theatre), and Game of Trolls: Revisited (Stage Manager; CIRCA-Pintig). Enjoy the show!
Ann in “Games” and Stage Directions for “Following…”
Lynne Baker has performed with Raven Theatre, Haven Theatre, Aston Rep, The Artistic Home, Citadel, Babes with Blades, Invictus Theatre and the Reutan Collective, among others. She can be seen in the independent film “Double Major” and was the co-founder of an improvisational comedy group in Madison, Wisconsin. Lynne is represented by Big Mouth Talent.
Giau Minh Truong
Alex and Max in “Following…” and Stage Directions for “Black Box”
Giau Minh Truong is an at-large artist for various performing arts companies in the Chicago area. For A-Squared, he co-curated the 2016 A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival, he directed Ching Chong Chinaman, The Other Shore, and short plays for My Asian Mom, acted in Trial By Water, served as technical director for American Hwangap, and designed lights for The Wind Cries Mary. Giau’s other directorial credits include Downward Facing, Lights Out, Everybody, and Theatre of Women for Dream Theatre Company. He directed Sister Outlaw, Mr and Mrs LaQuesta Go Dancing, My Name is Flor Contemplacion, and I Dream Electric for CIRCA-Pintig, Chicago’s long-running Filipino American theatre company for which he served as artistic director from 2007 through 2012. Giau has also directed plays for James Downing Theatre Company and Theatre for a Change. He serves as a teaching artist and program manager for Storycatchers, stage manages with Chamber Opera Chicago and various other companies, and is a resident jack-of-all-trades for Links Hall.
Old Woman in “Black Box”
Janice is honored to be appearing in “Black Box.” She has been seen in “Chicago P.D.,” “Shrink,” and “Patriot.” Most recently, Janice finished shooting the short film “E.R. A.M.” and has been part of the ongoing creative process for the docudrama “Eldercare.” Many thanks to Lake Bobbitt.
Girl in “Black Box”
Grace Hutchings is proud to be working with AIRMW! She recently was in Endeavor Mind (Addison), Bobby Pin Girls (Ana) and the short horror film, Mister Sticks (Lindsey). Other credits include: Sylvia (Sylvia), Alice in Slasherland (Alice), and Polaroid Stories (Euridice). Grace is represented by BMG Talent.
Nancy in “Yankee Princess” and Jessie in “Following…”
Maya Kitayama just finished Drury Lane’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” She is a recent graduate of Alvin Ailey/Fordham University where she received her BFA in Dance and Political Science, and had opportunities to work with various choreographers in New York City. Maya thanks her family for their continued support.
Ian Michael Minh
Sam in “Following…” and Stage Directions for “Games”
Ian Michael Minh is thrilled to join the talented folks at Our Perspective for this important reading series. Ian appeared recently in Vietgone (Writers Theatre) & Cendrillon (Lyric Opera of Chicago), he is an ensemble member with Midsommer Flight, and he is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Gavin D. Pak
Richard in “Yankee Princess” and Sylvester in “Games”
Gavin D. Pak is an actor, stage manager, and writer. Gavin’s play “Fresh Out the Closet” was read at the inaugural “Our Perspective” reading. He is currently writing a play through The New Colony’s Writers’ Room. Gavin is a proud associate of Echo Theater Collective. Favorite roles: Caiaphas (Jesus Christ Superstar), Christmas Eve (Avenue Q), Beaujo (Geography of a Horse Dreamer).
Dave in “Following…” and Stage Directions for “Yankee Princess”
Jimbo Pestano is a genderqueer Chicago-based actor and drag performer. Jimbo’s pronouns are they/them/their. Credits include About Face Theatre, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Route 66 Theatre Company, and National New Play Network. Catch them in Eurydice at Jedlicka Performing Arts later this spring. Follow them on IG @jimbopestano!
Young Woman in “Black Box”
Tea Ro is excited to be a part of Our Perspective. She is looking forward to working with all the great actresses in Black Box. She wants to thank everyone involved with Our Perspective for giving her this opportunity.
Karissa Murrell Myers
Karissa Murrell Myers is a Chicago based director, actor, teacher, and casting director. She founded the Broken Illusion Project in Boise, Idaho back in 2003, a not-for-profit theatre program focused on fostering young people in the performing arts. Through this organization, she directed many full-length productions including Cinderella, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other directing credits: The Shape of Things, This Is Our Youth (Boise Little Theatre), and assistant directed The Taming of the Shrew, Pride and Prejudice (Knock ‘Em Dead Theatre). MFA in Performance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, BA in Acting and Directing from Boise State University. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA. Representation: Big Mouth Talent. www.kmurrellmyers.com
Mia Park is powered by hope and engagement. As a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist, Mia shares her passion for discovery through acting, teaching yoga, writing, playing music, producing events, and volunteering. Learn more about Mia at MiaPark.com.
Heather Jencks (she/her) is an actor and burgeoning director. She is thankful to Our Perspective for this opportunity to direct Following…, and is currently assistant directing Soccer Player in the Closet with Christopher Sylvie at Nothing Without a Company (NWaC). Some of Heather’s acting credits include: Not One Batu (Jeff Recommended, Nothing Without a Company), Nanay (Free Street Theatre), King Lear (Eleusis Collective), Down the Moonlit Path (NWaC), Patria Libre (Prologue Theatre Company), The Benchmark (StepUp Productions). Heather is a Company Ensemble Member with NWaC and a proud alumna of Black Box Acting Studio, The Second City Training Center, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO Chicago; and has had the pleasure of studying at L’Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq and the summer conservatory at RADA.
Marie Tredway is a director, actor, choreographer, and blogger. Directing credits include: Young Playwrights Festival at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Plath (A Staged Reading) at Three Brothers Theatre, The Fixer (A Staged Reading) at Steppenwolf and The Invisible Hand (Carthage College). Chicago theatre performance credits: Jeff Recommended Not One Batu (Nothing Without A Company), Chicago AfterDark (Artistic Conspiracy), Wild Boar (Silk Road Rising). Endless love and gratitude for Carl, Amaya, and Alexis.
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