Get Your Play On: A-Squared Theatre Workshop and The Wind Cries Mary

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So I got word of this from musician Dawen Wang via Chicago about a new play being put on by A-Squared Theatre Workshop called "The Wind Cries Mary" - and it sounds like it's going to be pretty damn cool. The show will be running next month August 1-24 down at City Lit Theatre.

Check out all the info down below from the press release, and if you're down in the area - make sure to get on out and support some Asian American theater.

A-Squared Theatre Workshop, a new Asian-American stage workshop, is producing Chicago’s premiere of Philip Kan Gotanda's The Wind Cries Mary, running from August 1-24, 2008 at City Lit Theatre.

Loosely adapted from Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Gotanda's interpretation tackles Asian American political and civil rights themes of the late 1960s. Set in San Francisco, with a backdrop of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and the Women’s Liberation movement, the play takes place solely within the protagonist’s (Eiko Hanabi) home and engages the audience with the character’s inner struggle to break through her own gender and racial issues.

“We sought out this play because it represents what we struggle with today,” said Max Chung, director of The Wind Cries Mary. “The experience of the Ibsen story is universal, and the script is written so that Asian Americans could share our experience, our viewpoint with a larger audience.”

Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda is one of the most produced American playwrights, having worked with the Asian American Theatre Company, Northwest Asian American Theater, Pan Asian Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, New York Shakespeare Festival and the Mark Taper Forum. Gotanda also works internationally, recently staging a Japanese translation of other work and at London's Gate Theatre in co-production with the Royal National Theatre.

A-Squared Theatre Workshop is the only workshop in Chicago that is focused on the Asian-American experience. The founders of A-Squared saw the need to build a space that could span the range of ethnic groups in the Asian American community and use it as a place “to work out new ideas.” A-Squared hails some of the city’s well-known talent such as Mia Park, Dwight Sora and Paul Yamada to bring culturally specific issues to Chicago’s stage.

Audiences can catch “The Wind Cries Mary” from August 1 – 24 on Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. All performances are at City Lit Theater, 1020 West Bryn Mawr, Chicago. For reservations call 773.353.5979. General admission is $18, students and seniors $15 and groups of 10 or more at $12.

About A-Squared Theatre:

Mia Park, co-founder of A-Squared Theatre Workshop, has been a co-host of the underground cable music show, Chic-A-Go-Go, for ten years. Mia is a member of SAG, AEA, and AFTRA and has acted in independent movies, national commercials and industrial films for over eight years. In addition to MCing for groups like the Korean Consulate and the City of Chicago, Mia does voice-over work and models. She's performed in the Asian American theater groups Tea Company and Stir Friday Night and has also performed with Collaboraction as Jenny Chow in The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow and was most recently Fumiko in Hana's Suitcase with the
Chicago Children's Theater Company. Mia graduated from the Meisner Program at Act One Studios and has studied at Improv Olympic.

Paul Yamada is a co-founder of A-Squared Theatre Workshop and has been writing and researching American popular music and culture for over 35 years. He has published numerous essays and reviews and has made contributions to events produced by the Smithsonian Institute, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and National Public Radio. More recently, he has contributed profiles of Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Yasuhiro Ishimoto to the JACL newsletter. He curated the music for the production of Seven Out and assisted with the music for Trial By Water.

Cary Shoda is a co-founder of A-Squared Theatre Workshop and a Chicago-based actor and graphic designer. He played Khue in Trial By Water (co-produced with dueEast Theatre Company) and will produce The Wind Cries Mary which opens in August 2008. Other recent acting credits include The Laramie Project (James Downing Theatre Company), Camino Real (Mom and Dad Productions), and video segments in Ceres (Factory Theater). Graphic design credits include McKinsey & Company, Spencer Stuart, and The Museum of Contemporary Art.

Allen Hope Sermonia, co-founder of A-Squared Theatre Workshop, is an actor/director who has been in and around the off-loop theater scene for the past 10 years. He has appeared and behind the scenes with such theaters as Wing and Groove Theatre Company, TriArts, Inc., Chicago Dramatists, and others. As a director, his work has been seen at Chicago Dramatists, Prop Theater, and dueEast Theatre Company. Recently, he was seen in ICT’s jeff-recommended show Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates.

Dwight Sora is a native of River Forest and has been working professionally in Chicago since 2002’s The Rape of Nanking . . . According to Minnie (Stockyards Theatre Project). Prior to that, he was actively involved with the community performance/outreach group Scrap Mettle SOUL based in the Edgewater/Uptown neighborhood, after graduating from the University of Chicago in 1995. Other credits include A Thousand Cranes (Vittum Theater), The Normal Heart (Lincoln Square Theatre), Again (II Roman Senators), and Warren Lemming’s cabaret Cold Chicago. He understudied for After the Quake (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and Durango (Silk Road Theatre Project), and has fought onstage in Romeo et Juliet (Lyric Opera Chicago) and Tribulation & the Demolition Squad (Chicago Dance Crash). He has worked on several industrial films for corporations such as McDonald’s and Bank of America, and spent three years with the Social Issues Ensemble of Imagination Theater.

Ghuon "Max" Chung is the director of The Wind Cries Mary after having choreographed the movement and fights for Trial By Water. He has been seen on stage with Little Theatre on the Square, Illinois Theatre Center, Marriott-Lincolnshire Theatre, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Pegasus Players, The Artistic Home, Light Opera Works and Ravinia Festival. He graduated from Northwestern University and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. He voiced the character Chang Wong in the Left Behind audio book series and premiered his one-man show, Secret Asian Man…a Korean Kabaret in Chicago.