Ma-Yi Theater Company’s 2018-19 Season includes Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY, Orlando Pabotoy’s SESAR, Kristine Haruna Lee’s SUICIDE FOREST and Sam Chanse’s FRUITING BODIES

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.

Ma-Yi Theater Company – which has had a breakout season with the award-winning success of the musical KPOP, and recently with Mike Lew’s new play TEENAGE DICK (at The Public Theater) – announces its 2018-19 season of new works, according to the company’s Producing Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña. Among the offerings will be world-premieres of plays that have been created and developed through Ma-Yi’s celebrated Writers Lab, which has the distinction of being a primary incubator of new Asian American theater and the largest collective of Asian-American Playwrights in the world.

Among the season highlights will be Ma-Yi’s first partnership with The Bushwick-Starr in April; and two plays in rep in October. Ma-Yi previously enjoyed considerable success in 2014 with its two-play repertory engagement of Chairs and a Long Table (Han Ong) and Livin La Vida Imelda (Carlos Celdran) at Theatre Row.

The new plays on tap for 2018-19 are: THE CHINESE LADY based on the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, who was made a carnival attraction; SESAR about a teenage Filipino boy obsessed with understanding Shakespeare after having watched an excerpt from “Julius Caesar” on The Cosby Show; SUICIDE FOREST about a dispirited Japanese businessman and the sexually-confused teenage girl he encounters; and FRUITING BODIES about a scientist whose visit to an enchanted forest in the Pacific Northwest brings him face to face with his younger self, his future son, and the scientist’s own homophobia.

In a statement by Ma-Yi’s Producing Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña, Mr. Peña said: “Our next season features new works by artists exploring the personal and political, who take deep dives into real and imagined histories that ask important questions about who we are today, and how we got here. We’re excited to present the world premiere of Samantha Chanse’s “Fruiting Bodies,” a play developed at the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and directed by Shelley Butler, and to partner with Bushwick Starr in presenting “Suicide Forest” by Kristine Haruna Lee, directed by Aya Ogawa. We’re riding the momentum created by “KPOP,” and “Teenage Dick,” and hope to continue making exciting theater.”

SESAR and THE CHINESE LADY will perform in rep October 20 – November 18 at Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd Street). Click here for tickets.

SESAR, written by and starring Orlando Pabotoy, who previously acted with Ma-Yi, makes his debut as a first time playwright; directed by Richard Feldman (The Juilliard School), Sesar, depicts the story of a 16-year-old Filipino boy, who having just watched an excerpt of “Julius Caesar” on The Cosby Show, locks himself in the only family bathroom to dive head first into the world of ancient Rome, determined to make sense of Shakespeare. Eventually, the boy’s father who happens to be an ex-politician, joins the boy in the bathroom. Using his own political experiences to help explain the life of Caesar, a father lovingly instructs his young son about power, ambition, and well, life.

The Chinese Lady, written by Lloyd Suh (The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!), directed by Ralph B. Peña (Among The Dead), and starring Shannon Tyo (Bright Half Life), and Daniel K. Isaac (Showtime’s “Billions”), is inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant. It is a tale of dark poetic whimsy, a piercing portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman; Afong Moy reflects on life in 1834 and beyond, as she is brought to the United States from China and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.”

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo Star in Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY through August 11 

Lloyd Suh is a founding member of Ma-Yi’s celebrated Playwrights’ Lab, the author of American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, The Children of Vonderly, and others which were produced by Ma-Yi, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and La Mama ETC among others. An alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He has served since 2011 as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.

Ralph B. Peña is the current Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Select directing credits include Among the Dead, House Rules (Ma-Yi) The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award). His work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Second Generation, Victory Gardens, and La Mama ETC, among others. He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio.

Suicide Forest will perform at The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street, #2-2, Brooklyn, NY. 11237), February 27 through March 26, 2019.

In the spring, The Bushwick Starr, in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company, will present Suicide Forest, written by Kristine Haruna Lee (Memory Retrograde) and directed by Aya Ogawa (Failure Sandwich), about a Japanese salaryman in the 1990’s who desperately searches for his self-worth, while a lonely teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society. When the two find an awkward companionship in each other, they expose their darkest desires fueled by masochism and shame, and must now confront life and death as the notorious Suicide Forest looms over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest is a bilingual play that breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.

Fruiting Bodies was developed with Ma-Yi’s Writers Lab, and will perform at Theatre Row, April 5 through May 9, 2019.

Fruiting Bodies, by Sam Chanse (The Other Instinct), and directed by Shelly Butler (The Gun Show), tells the story of a Japanese American mycologist (mushroom scientist) who forages in a Pacific Northwest forest for specimens. As it turns out, the forest is enchanted, and the man meets his younger self and his future son. This is a trenchant play about tradition and how it flies in the face of contemporary American life, where a father must confront his own homophobia.

Sam Chanse is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Select credits include The Opportunities of Extinction (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop at the Lark, Ars Nova Out Loud, gilgamesh & the mosquito (with composer/collaborator Bob Kelly; Yale Institute of Musical Theatre), about that whole dying thing (Ars Nova ANT Fest), and Asian American Jesus (with director/collaborator Yasmine Gomez).

ABOUT Ma-Yi Theater Company:
Ma-Yi Theater Company recently enjoyed great critical and wild success with its double-billed TEENAGE DICK at The Public, and with KPOP last fall by Jason Kim; in addition to Carlos Celdran’s LIVIN’ LA VIDA IMELDA, Hansol Jung’s AMONG THE DEAD, A. Rey Pamatmat’s HOUSE RULES, Nandita Shenoy’s WASHER/DRYER, Michi Barall’s PEER GYNT AND THE NORWEGIAN HAPA BAND, Han Ong’s CHAIRS AND A LONG TABLE, and Rehana Lew Mirza’s SOLDIER X. The company won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for its critically acclaimed production of Lloyd Suh’s THE WONG KIDS IN THE SECRET OF THE SPACE CHUPACABRA GO!

Founded in 1989 and now celebrating its 27th season, Ma-Yi is a Drama Desk, Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers.

Since its founding, Ma-Yi has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Its numerous acclaimed productions include Mike Lew’s BIKE AMERICA and MICROCRISIS, Qui Nguyen’s THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G and SOUL SAMURAI (with Vampire Cowboys), Mike Lew’s MICROCRISIS and the revival of Ralph B. Peña’s FLIPZOIDS. Other productions include: RESCUE ME by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh’s AMERICAN HWANGAP and THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY and THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO by Lonnie Carter. Through successful programs such as the Writers Lab, Ma-Yi emboldens a new generation of Asian American artists to voice their experiences, while developing a steady stream of quality new works by Asian American Playwrights for its own performing repertory. New works developed at the Writers Lab have gone on to successful productions around the country, at such theaters as Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth, and the Actors Theater of Louisville, to name a few. Ma-Yi Theater Company productions have earned 10 Obie Awards, numerous Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play and the Special Drama Desk Award for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.”

Ma-Yi Theater is under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña.

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Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo Star in Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY through August 11

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.

The World Premiere of The Chinese Lady, starring Shannon Tyo (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Afong Moy” and Daniel K. Isaac (“Billions”) as “Atung,” is currently playing a limited engagement on the St. Germain Stage, Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.

Written by Lloyd Suh (Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery), directed by Ralph Peña (Microcrisis, Ma-Yi Theater Company), and presented in a co-production between Barrington Stage Company (BSC)  and Ma-Yi Theater Company, performances will run through Saturday, August 11.

Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia
Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia

In 1834, Afong Moy is brought to the United States from Beijing and put on display for the American public as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next 45 years, she performs in a side show that both defines and challenges her own view of herself. Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, playwright Lloyd Suh spins a tale of dark poetic whimsy in this piercing portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia
Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia
Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia
Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia

Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) is an actor and writer born and raised in Southern California, currently based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.”

Daniel K. Isaac in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.
Daniel K. Isaac in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.

Isaac co-wrote and stars in the short film/pilot presentation, “According To My Mother.” The project was selected for IFP Film Week and the inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab and was an Official Selection at ITVFest, Newfest, Outfest Fusion, Outfest, CAAMfest, SeriesFest (where it was awarded Best Actress), and New York Television Festival (Best Drama and Best Actor). “According To My Mother” is currently in development to become a digital series on First Look Media’s new platform, TOPIC. Isaac is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA. www.AccordingToMyMother.com

He recently appeared as William Inge in the Off-Broadway production of Philip Dawkin’s The Gentleman Caller, produced by Abingdon Theatre at The Cherry Lane.  Select NYC: Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO).  www.DanielKIsaac.com

Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia
Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia

Shannon Tyo (Afong Moy) Off-Broadway credits include Kentucky, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include The White Snake at the Old Globe, San Diego; Miss Saigon at the Pioneer Theatre Co, Music Theatre of Wichita and Cape Fear Regional; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Northern Stage, Tuacahn PAC and Pioneer Theatre Co.; and Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage. BFA Syracuse University.

Set and Costumes designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting design by Oliver Wason. Sound design by Fabian Obispo. Production Stage Manager is Geoff Boronda.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in THE CHINESE LADY. Photo by Eloy Garcia.

Playwright Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome Foundation, TCG, and Dramatists Guild, and has been a recipient of the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Playhouse, the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award, and the Helen Merrill Award. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He currently serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and has since 2011 served as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.

Lloyd Suh, Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac on the set of THE CHINESE LADY.
Lloyd Suh, Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac on the set of THE CHINESE LADY.

Director Ralph B. Peña is the current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Recent directing credits include Among the DeadHouse Rules (Ma-Yi) The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award), Julia Specht’s Down Cleghorn, Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), Mike Lew’s microcrisis(Youngblood, Ma-Yi), and House/Boy (Dublin and Singapore Theater Festivals). His theater work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Second Generation, Victory Gardens, and LaMama ETC, among others. He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio. Ralph is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater. This is for Damien, always and forever.

THE CHINESE LADY starts off as a shipping container. Designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting by Oliver Wason. Sound by Yngo Terra. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
THE CHINESE LADY starts off as a shipping container. Designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting by Oliver Wason. Sound by Yngo Terra. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Both single tickets and 2018 season passes are now on sale and available at www.barringtonstageco.org or by calling 413-236-8888 or visiting the Mainstage box office (30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201). Tickets range from $25 to $69.

Q & A with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo, Stars of Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY 

In Rehearsal: Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo 

Barrington Stage and Ma-Yi Present Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY at Barrington Stage, July 20 – August 11

Inside THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S Opening Night Party with Daniel K. Isaac and Juan Francisco Villa 

Up Close and Personal with Daniel K. Isaac – William Inge in Abingdon Theatre’s Production of THE GENTLEMAN CALLER by Philip Dawkins, May 5 – 26 

Jon Norman Schneider, Jiehae Park, Keelay Gipson, Julian Leong, Diana Oh, David Shih and Teal Wicks in Daniel K. Isaac’s OR OR OR &&& at The Actors Fund Arts Center 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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Q & A with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo, Stars of Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY

Lloyd Suh, Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac on the set of THE CHINESE LADY.
Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac
Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac

The World Premiere of The Chinese Lady, starring Shannon Tyo (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Afong Moy” and Daniel K. Isaac (“Billions”) as “Atung,” begins previews on Friday, July 20 on the St. Germain Stage, Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Written by Lloyd Suh (Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery), directed by Ralph Peña (Microcrisis, Ma-Yi Theater Company), and presented in a co-production between Barrington Stage Company (BSC)  and Ma-Yi Theater Company, performances will run through Saturday, August 11. Opening night is Wednesday, July 25.

Director Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Barrington Stage Company
Director Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Barrington Stage Company

In 1834, Afong Moy is brought to the United States from Beijing and put on display for the American public as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next 45 years, she performs in a side show that both defines and challenges her own view of herself. Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, playwright Lloyd Suh spins a tale of dark poetic whimsy in this piercing portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

From the source: "Afong Moy in her 'room'. She is surrounded with 'exotic' Chinese items. The Carne Brothers had similar reproduction items for sale at the exhibition for viewers to remember their visit to the Chinese Lady." Wikimedia Commons
From the source: “Afong Moy in her ‘room’. She is surrounded with ‘exotic’ Chinese items. The Carne Brothers had similar reproduction items for sale at the exhibition for viewers to remember their visit to the Chinese Lady.” Wikimedia Commons

Director Ralph B. Peña shared a few sneak peek snaps from tech and Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo answered a few questions via email. 

Lloyd Suh, Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac on the set of THE CHINESE LADY.
Playwright Lloyd Suh, Director Ralph B. Peña, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac on the set of THE CHINESE LADY.

Lia: Where are you staying?
Daniel: We are staying in a beautiful newly renovated home right off the main strip of Pittsfield, MA.

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

Lia: Please describe your characters.
Daniel: I like to joke that I play the title character but really that’s all Shannon.

Shannon: Afong Moy is “The Chinese Lady”, as she was billed, and so far as history can tell, the first woman of Chinese descent to arrive in America. Afong Moy wasn’t her real name, but rather a name given to her that was easier for western people to pronounce. She came to America as a sort of sideshow attraction, used as a prop in order to sell “exotic” goods from the Carne Brother’s Far East Oriental Import Company.

Shannon Tyo. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
Shannon Tyo as Afong Moy. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Daniel: Atung is Afong Moy’s translator. There are accounts of a translator being a part of her act but Atung is from Lloyd’s imagination. In this play, he was first assigned to the Carne Brothers as a manservant and became Afong’s translator and perhaps sole companion. It’s a disturbing and little known piece of American history that Lloyd has expanded upon with beautiful poetry and dark imagination.

Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
Daniel K. Isaac as Atung. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Lia: Please describe your relationship to each other.
Daniel: If we describe it too much it’ll give away spoilers. For now, we’ll say that Atung is Afong Moy’s translator and go from there. Also, our director, Ralph B. Peña, would want us to say that our relationship is constantly with the audience. After our first run-thru, Shannon said, “it feels like us against the world.” It really feels like that sometimes.

Shannon: But on a real-life level, Daniel and I are very lucky that we get along well, professionally and personally.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What kind of research did you do for your roles?
Shannon: For the last few years, I’ve been very invested in learning as much as possible about Asian American history. Specifically for this show, I took a deep dive into the effects of the Opium Wars on migration, along with footbinding, and also what little there is recorded about Afong Moy. Luckily, I love history, so it was more recreation than compulsory.
Daniel: Shannon wins.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What are the challenges of performing in a two-hander?
Shannon: It’s exhausting! Once the last scene plays, I have a brief moment of adrenaline high, then I crash and want to lay flat on my back and drop french fries into my mouth.

Daniel: Lia, you know this is my second two-hander this year, so I will agree with the crash and french fries (extra crispy for me) sentiment. Also, bourbon. Lots of bourbon.

Shannon Tyo. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
Shannon Tyo as Afong Moy. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Lia: What is the allure of performing at Barrington Stage?
Shannon: I always think it’s nice to be out of town in order to focus solely on work. It’s also nice to be close to nature when you’re cooped up inside a theatre all day, and the Berkshires are beautiful.

Daniel: I think it’s a privilege every time I get to work on a new play. And especially a world premiere!

Ralph B. Peña, Geoff Boronda, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac before ziplining.
Ralph B. Peña, Geoff Boronda, Shannon Tyo and Daniel K. Isaac before ziplining.

Lia: Have you had the opportunity to do much exploring?
Daniel: We went zip-lining earlier this week and we have some hikes and whitewater rafting adventures planned!

Shannon: Besides our aforementioned zip-lining excursion, we have a lot of adventures in the works. Daniel is an Eagle Scout so I plan to put myself in as much danger as possible and I expect him to be ready to help me whenever possible. I’ll be like Inspector Gadget and Daniel will be Penny.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang

Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) is an actor and writer born and raised in Southern California, currently based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.”

Isaac co-wrote and stars in the short film/pilot presentation, “According To My Mother.” The project was selected for IFP Film Week and the inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab and was an Official Selection at ITVFest, Newfest, Outfest Fusion, Outfest, CAAMfest, SeriesFest (where it was awarded Best Actress), and New York Television Festival (Best Drama and Best Actor). “According To My Mother” is currently in development to become a digital series on First Look Media’s new platform, TOPIC. Isaac is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA. www.AccordingToMyMother.com

He recently appeared as William Inge in the Off-Broadway production of Philip Dawkin’s The Gentleman Caller, produced by Abingdon Theatre at The Cherry Lane.  Select NYC: Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO).  www.DanielKIsaac.com

Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Shannon Tyo (Afong Moy) Off-Broadway credits include Kentucky, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include The White Snake at the Old Globe, San Diego; Miss Saigon at the Pioneer Theatre Co, Music Theatre of Wichita and Cape Fear Regional; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Northern Stage, Tuacahn PAC and Pioneer Theatre Co.; and Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage. BFA Syracuse University.

Set and Costumes designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting design by Oliver Wason. Sound design by Fabian Obispo. Production Stage Manager is Geoff Boronda.

Playwright Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome Foundation, TCG, and Dramatists Guild, and has been a recipient of the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Playhouse, the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award, and the Helen Merrill Award. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He currently serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and has since 2011 served as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.

Director Ralph B. Peña is the current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Recent directing credits include Among the DeadHouse Rules (Ma-Yi) The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award), Julia Specht’s Down Cleghorn, Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), Mike Lew’s microcrisis(Youngblood, Ma-Yi), and House/Boy (Dublin and Singapore Theater Festivals). His theater work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Second Generation, Victory Gardens, and LaMama ETC, among others. He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio. Ralph is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater. This is for Damien, always and forever.

THE CHINESE LADY starts off as a shipping container. Designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting by Oliver Wason. Sound by Yngo Terra. Photo by Ralph B. Peña
THE CHINESE LADY starts off as a shipping container. Designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting by Oliver Wason. Sound by Yngo Terra. Photo by Ralph B. Peña

Both single tickets and 2018 season passes are now on sale and available at www.barringtonstageco.org or by calling 413-236-8888 or visiting the Mainstage box office (30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201). Tickets range from $25 to $69.

In Rehearsal: Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo 

Barrington Stage and Ma-Yi Present Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY at Barrington Stage, July 20 – August 11

Inside THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S Opening Night Party with Daniel K. Isaac and Juan Francisco Villa 

Up Close and Personal with Daniel K. Isaac – William Inge in Abingdon Theatre’s Production of THE GENTLEMAN CALLER by Philip Dawkins, May 5 – 26 

Jon Norman Schneider, Jiehae Park, Keelay Gipson, Julian Leong, Diana Oh, David Shih and Teal Wicks in Daniel K. Isaac’s OR OR OR &&& at The Actors Fund Arts Center 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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In Rehearsal: Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY with Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in the Berkshires (Pittsfield, MA) under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, is presenting the World Premiere of The Chinese Lady starring Shannon Tyo (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Afong Moy” and Daniel K. Isaac (“Billions”) as “Atung.”

Daniel K. Isaac, Ralph Peña and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac, Ralph Peña and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Written by Lloyd Suh (Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery), directed by Ralph Peña (Microcrisis, Ma-Yi Theater Company), and presented in a co-production with the Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Chinese Lady begins previews Friday, July 20 on the St. Germain Stage, Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Opening night is Wednesday, July 25, and performances will run through Saturday, August 11.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

In 1834, Afong Moy is brought to the United States from Beijing and put on display for the American public as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next 45 years, she performs in a side show that both defines and challenges her own view of herself. Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, playwright Lloyd Suh spins a tale of dark poetic whimsy in this piercing  portrait of America as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang

Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) is an actor and writer born and raised in Southern California, currently based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.”

Isaac co-wrote and stars in the short film/pilot presentation, “According To My Mother.” The project was selected for IFP Film Week and the inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab and was an Official Selection at ITVFest, Newfest, Outfest Fusion, Outfest, CAAMfest, SeriesFest (where it was awarded Best Actress), and New York Television Festival (Best Drama and Best Actor). “According To My Mother” is currently in development to become a digital series on First Look Media’s new platform, TOPIC. Isaac is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA. www.AccordingToMyMother.com

He recently appeared as William Inge in the Off-Broadway production of Philip Dawkin’s The Gentleman Caller, produced by Abingdon Theatre at The Cherry Lane.  Select NYC: Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO).  www.DanielKIsaac.com

Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang
Shannon Tyo. Photo by Lia Chang

Shannon Tyo (Afong Moy) Off-Broadway credits include Kentucky, Bikeman: A 9/11 Play, Dear Edwina. Favorite regional credits include The White Snake at the Old Globe, San Diego; Miss Saigon at the Pioneer Theatre Co, Music Theatre of Wichita and Cape Fear Regional; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Northern Stage, Tuacahn PAC and Pioneer Theatre Co.; and Broadway Bounty Hunter at Barrington Stage. BFA Syracuse University.

Set and Costumes designed by Junghyun Georgia Lee. Lighting design by Oliver Wason. Sound design by Fabian Obispo. Production Stage Manager is Geoff Boronda.

Playwright Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome Foundation, TCG, and Dramatists Guild, and has been a recipient of the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Playhouse, the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award, and the Helen Merrill Award. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He currently serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and has since 2011 served as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.

Playwright Lloyd Suh and Director Ralph Pena
Playwright Lloyd Suh and Director Ralph Peña

Director Ralph B. Peña is the current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. Recent directing credits include Among the DeadHouse Rules (Ma-Yi) The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award), Julia Specht’s Down Cleghorn, Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), Mike Lew’s microcrisis(Youngblood, Ma-Yi), and House/Boy (Dublin and Singapore Theater Festivals). His theater work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Second Generation, Victory Gardens, and LaMama ETC, among others. He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio. Ralph is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater. This is for Damien, always and forever.

Performance schedules for all productions are available by visiting www.barringtonstageco.org.

Both single tickets and 2018 season passes are now on sale and available at www.barringtonstageco.org or by calling 413-236-8888 or visiting the Mainstage box office (30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201). Tickets range from $25 to $69.

THE CHINESE LADY set. Photo by Lia Chang
THE CHINESE LADY set. Photo by Lia Chang

Barrington Stage and Ma-Yi Present Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY at Barrington Stage, July 20 – August 11

Inside THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S Opening Night Party with Daniel K. Isaac and Juan Francisco Villa 

Up Close and Personal with Daniel K. Isaac – William Inge in Abingdon Theatre’s Production of THE GENTLEMAN CALLER by Philip Dawkins, May 5 – 26 

Jon Norman Schneider, Jiehae Park, Keelay Gipson, Julian Leong, Diana Oh, David Shih and Teal Wicks in Daniel K. Isaac’s OR OR OR &&& at The Actors Fund Arts Center 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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Barrington Stage and Ma-Yi Present Daniel K. Isaac and Shannon Tyo in World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY at Barrington Stage, July 20 – August 11

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

Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in the Berkshires (Pittsfield, MA) under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, is presenting the World Premiere of The Chinese Lady starring Shannon Tyo (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Afong Moy” and Daniel K. Isaac (“Billions”) as “Atung.” Written by Lloyd Suh (Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery), directed by Ralph Peña (Microcrisis, Ma-Yi Theater Company), and presented in a co-production with the Ma-Yi Theater Company. The Chinese Lady begins previews July 20, with an opening set forJuly 25, and will run through August 11.

Performance schedules for all productions are available by visiting www.barringtonstageco.org.

Both single tickets and 2018 season passes are now on sale and available at www.barringtonstageco.org or by calling 413-236-8888 or visiting the Mainstage box office (30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201). Tickets range from $25 to $69.

SaveSave

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