Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company and Asia Society Texas Center are presenting a celebration of women’s voices with three readings of Houston premiere plays by Asian and Asian American women.
The series, which was originally to be performed live over two days is now being presented online over a three week period in June. The series highlights the talents and accomplishments of women playwrights across the globe.The plays will be readings that have been safely recorded in a virtual setting, during times of social distancing.
FEMFEST HOUSTON: VOICES OF ASIA is the second project in the FEMFEST reading series, and will be presented in collaboration with Asia Society Texas Center.
The first play, PEACHES, is by Korean American Playwright, Soo-Jin Lee, and was featured on the Asia Society’s website, June 4-10, 2020. Synopsis: In northern Virginia, two Korean American best friends, Ji Hae and Robert, discover secrets about each other. Their last day of summer begins at a wedding and ends in a peach orchard. Directed by Peter Ton.
Featuring: Alan Kim, Hannah Lee, and Gabriel Regojo
Soo-Jin Lee is a playwright and an English teacher. Her plays include The Men My Mother Loved, Why Koreans Don’t Hug, Peaches, and Tigers, Dragons, and Other Wise “Tails”. Her work has been produced at the Discovery Theater, George Mason University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Born in South Korea, Ms. Lee was raised in Virginia. She holds a BA from George Mason University and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild. http://www.soo-jinlee.com
Peter Ton is a local freelance director. His theatre credits include Stages: Marie Antoinette (Assistant Director), Mack & Mabel (Assistant Projection Designer), Songs I Was Born to Sing (Projection Designer/Co-Director),The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Video/Graphics Designer). Main Street Theater: Silent Sky (Projection Assistant), Shrek (Projection Engineer). The Kinkaid School: Elf: The Musical (Projection Assistant), Hairspray (Projection Assistant). Mildred’s Umbrella: Museum of Dysfunction (director). SROProductions: The Who’s Tommy (Projection Designer). Sam Houston State University: The Language Archive (Director), HAIR! (Ensemble); We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… (A/V Man, Projection Designer, Drummer); Dying For It (Oleg, Assistant Stage Manager).
Peter holds a BFA in Theatre, Acting and Directing, from Sam Houston State University. He is also a photographer and filmmaker, and his first short film, eumenides, was accepted into the Short Film Corner at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
The second play, MOTHER IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE, by South Asian playwright and journalist, Taniya Hossain, is also in collaboration with Shunya Theatre and will be available June 11-17. Click here to register.
Featuring: Karthik Chander, Bonnie Langthorne, Leighza Walker, Lubaina Latif, Mayuri Patel, and Sam Stengler
Synopsis: When Tarak, a Bengali ex-pat, and Karen, an American, decide to get married, they know they’re in for some cultural challenges. But when Tarak buys them a brownstone and asks permission to move his mother Meena into the basement apartment, Karen knows she’s getting more than she bargained for. Things go from bad to worse when Karen’s mother, Blanch, is suddenly broke and homeless. Blanch moves in with Meena, turning them into the odd couple from hell. But after the mothers stay together, finding a new respect for each other, they have to teach their children the lesson of compromise before the engagement is called off. Directed by Mildred’s Umbrella’s Artistic Director, Jennifer Decker.
Taniya Hossain writes for theater, film, and television. She relocated from New York to Los Angeles to be one of Disney’s Screenwriting Fellows, writing for the Disney Channel animated show The Replacements and the upcoming season of Miles from Tomorrowland, now called Mission Force One. Her television pilot Tribes was featured in the Other Pilot Showcase in Los Angeles. Taniya was awarded the Sloan Foundation Grant for her screenplays Chemistry Set and The Speed of Light, which also placed second in the Fusion Film Festival Screenwriting Contest. Her teleplay Sip Off the Old Blockwon the Prism GenerationNext Fellowship. Her play Mother in Another Language, a finalist for the O’Neill Theater Conference, was featured as part of the Lark Play Development Center’s Playwrights’ Week in New York and was produced by ReAct Theatre company and Pratidhwani in Seattle.
Her plays have been seen at SALAAM Theatre, New Perspectives Theatre, Brooklyn Lyceum and Westbeth Theatre Center in New York; GENseng Geneseo at SUNY Geneseo; City Theater in Pittsburgh; Chance Theatre in Anaheim; Chicago Dramatist Workshop, Bailiwick Arts Center and Famous Door Theatre in Chicago; Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, AK; and Two Trees Theatre in Vancouver, BC. She received her MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Jennifer Decker is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company. She has dedicated herself for the last two decades to Independent theatre in Houston. Jennifer’s projects include – As Director: The Moors, The Johns, Mac Wellman’s Dracula, Cloud Tectonics, Rome, Carnival Round the Central Figure, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Kama Sutra, Dark Matter, Triptych, A Murder of Crows ; As actor: Eros: A Circus (acrobat), Things Being at the Worst (Puttenesca), Tomorrow Morning (Claire), Mac Wellman’s Dracula (Vampirette), [sic] (Babbette), A Long History of Neglect(Justine), One Flea Spare (Darcy), Rot (Claire), Night of the Giant (Clara), Under the Big, Dark Sky(Mother), Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Jean), Kimberly Akimbo (Patty), and A Heroine Free Summer (Terry).
Recently she has also worked as actor, director, producer or advisor with many independent Houston theatres as well as several local film projects. She has an MLA in English and one in Drama from St. Thomas University. She teaches English and Dramatic Literature at Houston Community College. She received a ‘Best of Houston’ Nomination in the Houston Press in 2007 for Best Actress, and a nomination for Best Artistic Director in the 2012 and 2014 Houston Theatre Awards. She has been featured in the Houston Press’s 100 Creatives.
The third play will be available June 18-24. THE HATMAKER’S WIFE, is by award-winning playwright, Lauren Yee. Click here to register.
Featuring: Noel Bowers, Karina Pal Montaño-Bowers, Calvin Hudson, Mai Le, Sammi Sicinski, and Cybil Saenz
Synopsis: When a young woman moves in with her boyfriend expecting domestic bliss, their new house reveals the magical tale of its previous inhabitants: an old hatmaker and his long-suffering wife, who runs away with his favorite hat. This sweet and surreal story bends time and space to redefine the ideas of family, home, and true love itself. Directed by Christine Jugueta.
Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco currently living in New York City. Her Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf, Cygnet Theatre, and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama. Her other work includes King of the Yees, Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, Hookman, In a Word, Samsara, The Song of Summer, and The Tiger Among Us.
Lauren is the winner of the Doris Duke Artist Award, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, and the Francesca Primus Prize. Lauren is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists member (class of 2025), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, former Princeton University Hodder fellow, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep. She has a BA from Yale and a MFA from University of California San Diego.
Christine Jugueta is an actor, singer, writer, instructor, sacred artist, ceremonialist, community builder and theatre-maker. She holds an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU, a BFA in Musical Theater from Boston Conservatory, and a Certificate in Acting from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.
Christine spent over 10 years exploring various aspects of spirituality, religion and community service and has also served as an advisor, instructor, music director, sound healer, dancer, ceremonialist and interfaith minister. Deeply committed to honoring her indigenous heritage in the Philippines, Christine is a member of the Center for Babaylan Studies and has served as a director for various cultural events promoting Filipino indigenous wisdom. As an educator, Christine has developed conscious workshops, seminars and coaching techniques that help artists and leaders deepen their self-awareness, effectiveness and sense of vocation, and has taught various classes in movement, voice, acting, speech and music. Christine is also a multi-genre vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, composer and producer, who has scored promotional videos and released recordings with the acclaimed and progressive Crossing community in Boston and in the New Age/World Music genre. https://www.christinejugueta.com
Interviews with Soo-Jin Lee and Taniya Hossain will be presented with the videos.
FEMFEST HOUSTON: VOICES OF ASIA will be available at https://asiasociety.org/texas. Info can also be found on www.mildredsumbrella.com. For more information, call Asia Society Texas at 713.496.9901 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Viewing the plays is free, but audience members must register. An access link and password will be provided to registrants via email once the plays are available for viewing.
Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company seeks to challenge audiences and theatre artists by creating and performing bold, innovative, and fresh theatrical works grounded in the best traditions of the dramatic arts. With a strong feminine presence in our artistic vision, we strive to feature the work of female playwrights, actors, and directors, which promotes the empowerment of women through the performing arts.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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