Watch: LS NYUWomXn100 Presents Haunting & Healing: Part 2: Daniel K. Isaac’s ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME Featuring Diana Oh, Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, David Shih, Shannon Tyo, and Jeena Yi through April 26; Q & A with Playwright Daniel K. Isaac, Director Ralph B. Peña, and Karen Shimakawa

In recognition of LS NYUWomXn100 and Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month, NYU Liberal Studies Professor Ida Chavoshan curated a two-part HAUNTING AND HEALING event series, interrogating how creative and academic engagements grapple with transgenerational trauma in families.

Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang

The event lead with a panel that narrows in and expands on several themes from the Daniel K. Isaac’s play ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME, followed by a digital play reading and Q&A featuring Playwright Daniel K. Isaac, Director Ralph B. Peña, and Moderator Karen Shimakawa. Click here to watch the Q & A.

Ida Chavoshan, Daniel K. Isaac, Esther Lee, Chad Reed. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Ralph B. Peña, the cast of ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME features Diana Oh, Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, David Shih, Shannon Tyo, and Jeena Yi. This reading of Daniel K. Isaac’s play ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME was recorded at Ma-Yi Studios in February 2021. Even though it is pre-recorded, the format of a reading has been preserved with visual elements  added to help tell the story. Presented and produced by Ma-Yi Studios, the digital play reading recording is available through Monday, April 26. Click here to watch the reading.

Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, Shanno Tyo, Jeena Yi, David Shih and Diana Oh.

In this digital play reading the violence of fairy tales collide with the violence of the times as magical calabashes, singing goblins, sea dragons, and hungry tigers collide with soldiers fighting the Occupation, Comfort Women fighting to survive, immigrants and hyphenated Americans in the Korean War and wars to come. 

Each performer was filmed separately in order to observe strict COVID safety protocols. 

Content Warning: This video includes Strong Language, Sexual Assault, War Imagery, Anti-Asian Violence, Gunshots and Explosions.

This program was co-sponsored by NYU Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation, A/P/A Institute at NYU, Ma-Yi Theater Company, New York Center for Global Asia.

Daniel K. Isaac is a queer Korean American actor and writer based in New York City. His other plays include THE HOPE PROJECT, QUIET LOVE (commissioned by Ma-Yi, co-written with John McGinty), FULLERTON (2020 O’Neill Finalist), [untitled gay sex and conversion therapy play] (commissioned by Ma-Yi with generous support from the NEA), and OR OR OR &&& (available as a podcast recording on The Parsnip Ship). TV: “According To My Mother” (in development with FX & Searchlight Pictures). Daniel’s work has been championed by Ma-Yi Theater, Barrington Stage, NYTW, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Page73’s Interstate73, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, Queens Theatre, The Tank, TheatreC, Leviathan Lab, and Lambda Literary. 

Training: UCSD, BADA.

Director: Ralph B. Peña is a founder and the current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Directing credits: “The Wong Kids,” “Microcrisis,” “Among The Dead,” “The Chinese Lady,” “Felix Starro,” and the soon to be released short film “Vancouver.” His work has been seen at The Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, Victory Gardens, LaMama ETC, The Children’s Theater Company, Vineyard Theater, among others. 

Moderator: Karen Shimakawa is an Associate Professor of Performance Studies, a Co-Associate Dean of Faculty in the Tisch School of the Arts, and an Affiliated Faculty at the NYU School of Law.  She is the author of National Abjection: the Asian American Body Onstage (Duke UP). Her research and teaching focus on critical race theory and performance.


Daniel K. Isaac (see above)

Diana Oh (they/she/punk goddex) is a multi-genre artist: creator of performance, installations, concerts, rituals, and parties, director of their own work, performer, actor, singer, songwriter, musician, a feeder of the soul, and an open channel to the art that feels good to their body. As a Refinery29 Top LGBTQ Influencer and the First Queer Korean-American interviewed on Korean Broadcast Radio, Oh is the Creator of The Infinite Love Party (an intentional, barefoot, potluck dinner, dance party, and sleepover for QTPOC and their Allies) which the New York Times calls “the joyous freedom to be yourself, whatever pronouns you use;” {my lingerie play} with touring national installations and concert staged in an effort to provide a safer, more courageous world for women, queer, trans, and non-binary humans to live in; CLAIRVOYANCE (an installation and concert series in Harvard Yard, the Boston Public Library, Institute of Contemporary Art, Harvard Arboretum and A.R.T.); 24 Hour Punk, Asian People Are Not Magicians (; and My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre (developed in 2017-2019 with The Public’s EWG). TV/FILM: Queering, How to Be Single, NY is Dead (Tribeca Film Fest), Hey Yun (feat. on Janet Mock), Unicornland. Fellowships: Helen Merrill Award, Art Equity Grant recipient, TOW Fellow (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), Van Lier Fellow in Acting (Asian American Arts Alliance), Venturous Capital Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow, member of Ma-Yi Writers Group, writer/performer with The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit and previous member of EWG, Williamstown Theatre Festival Artist-in-Residence. Oh tours with their art in unexpected spaces and enjoys not fitting into boxes.

Jon Norman Schneider (he/him) is thrilled to be back at Long Wharf Theatre after last appearing in Julia Cho’s Durango in 2006. Earlier this year, he played the Fool in Northern Stage’s production of King Lear. Select New York credits include the title role in Henry VI (NAATCO), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/The Public), Lunch Bunch (Clubbed Thumb), The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Queens Boulevard (the musical) (Signature), Durango (The Public), A Map of Virtue (13P), among others. London: Paper Dolls (Tricycle). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Barrington Stage Co., Dorset Theatre Festival, Goodman Theatre, Huntington Theatre Co., Kennedy Center, Magic Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Mosaic Theatre Co. of DC, and The Old Globe. Film: Bitter Melon, Manila Is Full of Men Named Boy, The Normals, and HBO’s Angel Rodriguez. TV: “Succession,” “Jessica Jones,” “Veep,” “30 Rock,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

James Seol: Theatre: Half the Sky (5th Avenue Theatre); The Great Leap (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination); Henry VI (National Asian-American Theatre Company); American Morning (Prospect Theater Company); KPOP (Ars Nova/Ma-Yi/Woodshed Collective, Lucille Lortel Award Nomination); Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova); Vietgone, The Orphan of Zhao (American Conservatory Theatre); The Four Immigrants, Tokyo Fish Story (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Goodspeed Musicals and Paper Mill Playhouse); Zombie: the American (Woolly Mammoth); Hamlet (Hartford Stage); A Naked Girl on the Appian Way (Roundabout Theatre Company); Timon of Athens (Shakespeare Theatre Company). TV: The Flight Attendant (HBO Max); Living with Yourself (Netflix); Insomnia (Webseries). Juilliard and the University of Virginia. IG: @jamesseol

David Shih: Previously with Ma-Yi: KPOP (Lortel Award: Outstanding Musical) and Bike America. Other theater: The Great Wave (Berkeley Rep), Henry VI: Shakespeare’s Trilogy in Two Parts (Drama Desk Nomination: Best Revival) and Awake and Sing! (NAATCO), Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage), Tiger Style! (La Jolla Playhouse), Crane Story (The Playwrights Realm). Television: “Hunters,” “Billions,” “City on a Hill,” “Iron Fist,” “The Path,” “Blindspot,” “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Blacklist,” “L&O:SVU.” Film: Mr. Sushi, Eighth Grade, All the Little Things We Kill, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Saving Face. Audiobooks: AudioFile Earphones Award winners 47 Ronin and Ghosts of Gold Mountain. 

Shannon Tyo (she/her): Off-Broadway: The Chinese Lady, Kentucky, Bikeman, Dear Edwina. Select regional: The Good Book (Berkeley Rep), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), Smart People (Geva Theatre Center), Bright Half Life (Kitchen Theatre Co.), Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage), The White Snake (The Old Globe), Miss Saigon (Pioneer Theatre Co., Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Music Theatre Wichita), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Northern Stage, Tuacahn Center, Pioneer Theatre Co.). TV: “30 Rock,” “Rediscovering Christmas” (Lifetime), “The Last O.G.” BFA, Syracuse University.

Jeena Yi is a proud Korean American born and raised in Los Angeles and currently based in New York City.  Her favorite korean folktale is “The Man with the Lump” because it’s about being kind and above all, DON’T BE A GREEDY ASSHOLE. For more professional information, visit

Production Team includes Lighting Designer Cha See, Projections Designer Yee Nam, Sound Designer Melanie Chen Cole, Stage Manager Alex Kesner,
Editor Zack Lobel, Directors of Photography Isabella Tan and Shane Lian, Studio Manager and Assistant Giles Indic. 

Made possible by the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts, The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and New York University.

Click here for more information on the Haunting and Healing program.

Ma-Yi’s Spring 2021 Season Includes Ohnobu Pelican’s CLIPPY AND MS. U, Stefani Kuo’s FINAL BOARDING CALL, Daniel K. Isaac’s ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME, Michi Barall and Sung Rno’s ODETS IN STATEN ISLAND, Ralph B. Peña and Tom Lee’s VANCOUVER, and Frederick Kennedy, Emily Reilly and Hugh Farrell’s REST 

Liberal Studies presents a year-long series of programming, events, and creative production to honor and celebrate the lives, pursuits, innovations, and achievements of womxn of transgender, non-binary, and cisgender experiences – including those who have been historically overlooked across our global communities. 2020 marks 100 years since the U.S. ratified the 19th amendment, though not all women gained access to their vote.

This series recognizes the often unseen and unacknowledged efforts of womxn, particularly those of historically and contemporary marginalized backgrounds, and highlights a diversity of cultural practices, historical realities, and contemporary issues through a global, interdisciplinary and engaged framework. The series is meant to promote and engage with the broader NYU community on the creative, political, and historical global legacies of women forging justice and gender equality. Join us as we take this moment to revisit our pasts and build our collective futures.

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