East West Players Theatre for Youth program to tour elementary schools with ASIAN PACIFIC TALES

Andrea Apuy, Stephen Oyoung and Ruffy Landayan in the adaptation of the Chinese folktale, "The Monkey King" as part of East West Players 2005 Theatre for Youth touring program ASIAN PACIFIC TALES. Photo by Karen Huie.

East West Players, the nation's premier Asian Pacific American theatre, will present folktales from Cambodia, China and Japan to elementary schools throughout Los Angeles County through its Theatre for Youth ASIAN PACIFIC TALES touring program from February 27 to March 31, 2006.

ASIAN PACIFIC TALES blends Eastern and Western theatrical techniques with folk tales designed to encourage children to discover other people and understand the diversity of Asian Pacific Islander cultures. By introducing youth to cultures outside their own, East West Players builds respect for cultural differences, as well as awareness for things shared in common. Dramatized folk tales are interspersed with song, dance, rhythm and percussion from various regions of the Pacific Rim. ASIAN PACIFIC TALES reaches about 20,000 children and families each year via in-school arts education, school performances and local festivals. The show is accompanied with written curricula and suggested follow-up activities for classroom use.

Almost two dozens performances have been scheduled at schools including Castelar Elementary School in Chinatown (March 6), Cerritos Elementary School in Glendale (March 17), Eagle Rock Elementary School (February 27), Garfield Elementary School in Alhambra (March 10), Marengo Elementary School in South Pasadena (March 1), Monterey Highlands Elementary School in Monterey Park (March 27), Murphy Ranch Elementary School in Whittier (March 21), and Village School in Pacific Palisades (March 3).

"ASIAN PACIFIC TALES creates understanding among children through the universal language of theatre. By offering a positive theatrical experience like ASIAN PACIFIC TALES, children see the play and witness everything that brings a play together: actors, script, staging, sound, costuming and much more. Children are able to experience different cultures and characters through the lens of the actors, and are able to see and feel the text come to life. Hopefully, the positive and magical theatrical experience encourages students to learn more, stimulates their imaginations and inspires them to participate in the greater theatre community in the future," said East West Players Arts Education Director Marilyn Tokuda.

"ASIAN PACIFIC TALES has entertained youth for more than 25 years. Children who saw it years ago in school are grown-up now and have children of their own. It‚s nice to know that there are two generations that have been exposed to East West Players message of cultural diversity and understanding, especially in a city like Los Angeles," added East West Players Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang.

In the Cambodian folktale, Princess Amaradevi, the young princess has found Mahoseth, her Prince Charming ˆ but not if the scheming ministers Senak and Pakkos can help it. The two greedy ministers plot to send Mahoseth away and compete for Princess Amaradevi's hand ˆ and riches. Can the clever princess foil their plot and show the king their selfish plan? Can she save Mahoseth and bring him back to Cambodia from the far away land?

The Chinese folktale is the continuation of last year's The Monkey King, the beloved hero of the epic novel Journey to the West by scholar Wu Ch‚eng En. In this adventure, the mischievous Monkey King is punished for 500 years for eating the magical peaches of the Heavenly Peach Garden. To redeem himself, he joins a priest, a pig and a sea monster on a quest to bring the sutras (the teachings of Buddha) from India back to China.

The final folktale from Japan, Rice Millionaire, embraces the ideals of faithfulness, contentment and charity. By following the journey of a young boy from rags to riches, we discover that through acts of kindness and the willingness to selflessly help others, he is awarded with opportunities of wealth in more ways than one.

John Miyasaki, a long-time East West Players artist and founder of hereandnow Theatre Company, will direct ASIAN PACIFIC TALES. The cast includes Ida Anderson, Andrea Apuy, Reggie De Leon, Debbie Fan and Elan Hom. Another long-time East West Players artist, Karen Huie, adapted and wrote the Cambodian and Chinese folktales. The Japanese folktale was developed by Miyasaki and the ASIAN PACIFIC TALES cast.

The fee to schedule ASIAN PACIFIC TALES at a school is $450 for one show, $850 for two and $1,225 for three. To schedule a performance contact Education Tour Coordinator Antoine Diel at (213) 625-7000 x21 or adiel@eastwestplayers.org.

Theatre for Youth ASIAN PACIFIC TALES is supported in part by Amgen Foundation and The Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation.

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