Ma-Yi Theater Company Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with New Programming and Initiatives
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 04:43 pm EDT 05/05/21

Benefit Reading of Daniel K. Isaac's Once Upon a (korean) Time

Ralph B. Peña's Vancouver
$24,000 in Micro-Grants Awarded to BIPOC, Transgendered, and Disabled Artists & Creatives

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, Ma-Yi Theater Company is pleased to announce several programs and initiatives that not only strengthen Ma-Yi's role in leading the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today, but expands the diverse communities that Ma-Yi champions and supports.
From May 20–23, Ma-Yi will present a benefit reading of Daniel K. Isaac's Once Upon A (korean) Time. Mixing traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War, Isaac's new play is a funny and deeply moving analog for the experiences of the Korean American diaspora. Isaac deftly moves his characters through time, tracing the legacies of trauma that are passed from one generation to the next, and the various coping mechanisms each one uses to soldier on. The cast includes Diana Oh, Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, David Shih, Shannon Tyo, Jeena Yi, and Isaac as the Narrator.

"Ma-Yi has continually championed my voice and nurtured my writing," says Isaac. "When I feared that the theater industry would be dormant for an indefinite period of time, I watched Ma-Yi adapt and reinvent itself - creating a studio space, commissioning projects, and hiring out-of-work artists - so they could continue to tell stories by Asian American voices but now for a global audience. Ma-Yi has never stopped supporting the community whose livelihoods were put into extreme uncertainty. Ma-Yi has truly been a lifeline."

Once Upon A (korean) Time will stream from 7 PM ET on May 20 until 7PM ET on May 23. Tickets, priced $5–$50, can be purchased at http://ma-yitheatre.org/.

Currently streaming at Ma-Yi Studios through May 31, Ma-Yi, in association with The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, is proud to present the online premiere of Vancouver, a puppet play centered on a mixed-race family that relocates from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. Written and directed by Ma-Yi Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña and created in collaboration with puppetry director Tom Lee, Vancouver confronts anti-Asian aggressions through the experiences of one family hoping to find more stability. Or, maybe, acceptance? But where is home exactly?

Ma-Yi Theater Company is also pleased to announce the recipients of Ma-Yi's new $500 micro-grant program, which was open to New York City-based BIPOC, transgendered, and disabled artists and creatives. The micro-grant was established in response to the continued COVID-19 crisis and the prolonged shutdown of live theater and events. Originally announced as a $5,000 program, the news of the micro-grants was met with an unprecedented groundswell of public support and unsolicited donations allowing the pool of money to grow fivefold to $24,000.

The 48 recipients of Ma-Yi's micro-grant program include multidisciplinary artist Sienna Aczon; multidisciplinary theater & digital content maker Nikomeh Anderson; choreographer Rohan Bhargava/Rovaco Dance Company; multidisciplinary theater artist Chanel Blanchett; actor & songwriter Jason Bowen; circus sideshow artist & choreographer Arrie Fae Bronson-Davidson; writer Ruth Minah Buchwald; freelancer Isabelle Carnot; performer/playwright Pablo Aaron Catenza Rubin; poet Catherine Chen; pianist-violinist Gabrielle Chou; director Nelson T. Eusebio III; pianist & composer Melinda Faylor; performer, director, designer, educator Emily Anne Goes; cinematographer Dylan Golden; fiction writer Logan Hoffman-Smith; photographer Yolanda Hoskey; writer & curator Coach Tea; musician Kambaba Jasper; founder of Honest Accomplice Theatre Maggie Keenan-Bolger; writer, director, & actor Katelynn Kenney; multidisciplinary artist Piliojos Magnificos; 3D artist Nelson Mai; actor, writer, producer Danny Marin; visual artist, dancer, & drag performer Marisol; dance artist Bianca Medina; actor, dancer, & drag performer Alex Might; actor, manager Gregg Mozgala; actor & playwright Youlim Nam; actor, writer, & multidisciplinary artist Nina Naval, photographer & mixed media artist Tyler-Andrew "6" Nelson, choreographer & interdisciplinary artist Christopher Núñez, actor, writer, & director Chuk Obasi; musician, actor, & photographer Reuben Reuel; jeweler & painter Kenya Reynolds; actor, singer, writer, & dancer J Riley Jr.; writer Abigail Savitch-Lew; visual artist Hanna Sheehan; interdisciplinary artist, actor, activist Futaba Shioda; multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, & dancer Jen Shyu; actor, singer, & film producer Brandon C. Smith; actor, musician, & writer Anna Stacy; storyteller & writer Tracey Starin; actor & stage combatant Alex Taylor; choreographer @ddy Tomby; sculptor Hong-Ling Wee; choreographer Nami Yamamoto, and Anonymous.

Ma-Yi is also planning to host two public symposiums. Moderated by Jesse Jae Hoon, the first panel will focus on the New York Health Act and Medicare For All while housing and the eviction crisis will be the subject of the second panel. Details and participants will be announced at a later date.

Please visit http://ma-yitheatre.org/ for more information.

About the artists

Daniel K. Isaac (he/him) is a queer Korean American actor and writer based in New York City.
His other plays include The Hope Project, Quiet Love (2021 O'Neill Semifinalist, commissioned by Ma-Yi, co-written w/ John McGinty), Fullerton (2020 O'Neill Finalist), [untitled gay sex and conversion therapy play] (commissioned by Ma-Yi w/ 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. www.DanielKIsaac.com

Ralph B. Peña (director) has been Ma-Yi Theater's Artistic Director since 1996 and has been instrumental in establishing Ma-Yi Theater Company as the country's leading incubator of new works by Asian American playwrights, reaping numerous Obie and Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical (KPOP), and the 2018 Ross Wetzsteon Obie Award. Directing credits include The Wong Kids, Microcrisis, Among The Dead, The Chinese Lady, and Felix Starro. Apart from Ma-Yi Theater, Peña's work has been seen on the stages of The Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, Victory Gardens, LaMama ETC, The Children's Theater Company, Vineyard Theater, among others.

Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Mililani, Hawai'i, Tom Lee (Puppetry Director) is a director, designer and puppet artist based in New York & Chicago. Lee began his career at La MaMa Experimental Theater in New York with the encouragement of Ellen Stewart and, later, the St. Ann's Warehouse Puppet Lab. His original puppet theater work includes Shank's Mare (La MaMa, Japan Tour), Hoplite Diary (St. Ann's, La MaMa), Punch of the Dead (St. Ann's Puppet Lab) Odysseus and Ajax (La MaMa) and Ko'olau (La MaMa/Hawai'i tour). Lee has directed & designed puppetry for Giants Are Small with the New York Philharmonic, the Prototype Festival production of The Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Weisman and David Cote and for the National Asian American Theatre Company, among others. He collaborated with director Stephen Earnhart on a multimedia staging of Haruki Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, for which he designed the scenery, puppetry and projected puppet miniatures. This production was featured at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2011 and the Singapore Arts Festival in 2012.

About Ma-Yi Theater Company
Founded in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater Company is a Drama Desk, Lortel, and Obie Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers.

Its numerous acclaimed productions include Mike Lew's Teenage Dick and Bike America, Qui Nguyen's The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G and Soul Samurai (with Vampire Cowboys), and Hansol Jung's Among The Dead. Other productions include: Rescue Me by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh's The Chinese Lady and Lonnie Carter's The Romance of Magno Rubio.

The Ma-Yi Writers Lab, a signature program founded in 2004, is the largest resident company of Asian-American playwrights ever assembled. The Lab 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 Ma-Yi's 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's productions have earned 10 Obie Awards, 5 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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