And the Winners Are… East West Players' 'FACE OF THE FUTURE' Playwriting Competition Identifies Bi-Racial, Transnational and South Asian Themes.
East West Players (EWP), the nation's largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work and the longest-running professional theatre of color in the country, announces the winning entries to its playwriting competition, "Face of the Future," which explores the reality of multicultural America from an Asian American perspective.
"We've been surprised by the number of qualifying submissions to our competition" said Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. "Exploring a bi-racial America and the transnational experience through an Asian American perspective may not be as rare as many have thought. The world is more connected today and with each generation comes a more multi-cultural America. Is America ready for this reality?"
The competition's first place winner is Christmas in Hanoi by Eddie Borey, who grew up in a Vietnamese and Irish-American family. For the last five years, Borey made his living as a screenwriter in the horror and science fiction genres, always with his brother Chris as his writing partner. Solo, he has a horror story published on the podcast show Pseudopod, and working on a series of horror stories set in Los Angeles. Christmas in Hanoi is about a mixed-race family returning to Vietnam for the first time since the war. A year after the death of their strong-willed mother, Winnie and Lou travel with their Irish Catholic father and Vietnamese grandfather to re-connect with their roots. Under the skin of Vietnam's raucous cities, sleazy expats, and tourist-filled beaches, the Ganleys find a past that is far from dead. Whether they embrace that past or reject it, the Ganleys are haunted by their own family's ghosts and by the phantoms of Vietnam's long history. Borey will receive a $5,000 first place prize.
The second place winner is A Nice Indian Boy by Madhuri Shekar. Shekar is California-born and was raised in India; shepresently divides her heart and her time between Los Angeles and Chennai. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Dramatic Writing at the University of Southern California. She occasionally dabbles in acting and stand-up comedy, just to remind herself of why she really should stick to writing. A Nice Indian Boy tells the story of nice Indian guy, Naveen Gavaskar, who wants to settle down with a nice Indian guy that his parents would approve of. His plans go awry when he falls for a culturally confused Caucasian, and his perfect sister brings home some not-so-perfect news. Shekar will receive a $2,500 second place prize.
The third place winner is Samsara by Lauren Yee, born and raised in San Francisco, a playwright whose work includes Ching Chong Chinaman; Crevice; Hookman; In A Word; A Man, his Wife, and his Hat; and Samsara. She is currently under commission from the Kennedy Center and Mu Performing Arts (supported by the Rockefeller MAP Fund). An American couple, Katie and Craig, vow to make a last-ditch effort to create a baby of their own. Their quest leads them to India, where a thriving commercial surrogacy industry offers them one final chance at parenthood. But will their decision to "rent out" a surrogate unite or divide them? A hilarious, unsettling look at reproduction in the 21st century, Samsara questions whether we can truly achieve intimacy in the face of shrinking worlds and expanding boundaries. Yee will receive a $1,000 third place prize.
An honorable mention goes to The Moments Before by Lina Patel. Lina is currently working on a commission for a new play from Yale Repertory Theater. The Moments Before was inspired by William Dalrymple's historical books about Indian colonial history. In the world of the play, Battery Park City and Bangladesh are under water, the American military works in secret around the globe and Russia controls European use of natural gas. The future is now and the present is as urgent as the past for a newly minted and emotionally scarred young academic named Alec, his fractured parents and the friends and lovers entangled in their lives. The Moments Before asks, what is worth preserving as life becomes precious? By examining the value of shared history and the passing on of stories in a time of crisis, the play ambitiously explores of the bonds of love and the lasting value of history in the face of possible annihilation.
The panel of judges included the playwrights S. Vasanti Saxena (winner of EWP's last playwriting competition), Judy Soo Hoo and Aurelio Locsin, former Lodestone Co-Artistic Director Chil Kong, actors Amy Hill and Camille Mana, director/dramaturg Alberto Isaac, and writer-director Eric Byler.
EWP will be presenting readings of the winning plays as follows: 3rd place Samsara by Lauren Yee Wednesday, 3/14, 7:30pm 2nd place A Nice Indian Boy by Madhuri Shekar Saturday, 3/31, 2pm 1st place Christmas in Hanoi by Eddie Borey Saturday, 3/31, 4:30pm All of the readings will be presented at the David Henry Hwang Theater at East West Players, located at 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles CA 90012 in the Little Tokyo district in Downtown Los Angeles. Admission to the readings are free.
The Face of the Future playwriting competition was made possible by the generous support of the James Irvine Foundation. For more information about East West Players' Literary Program, contact Literary Manager Jeff Liu at (213) 6257000 x27 or firstname.lastname@example.org.