A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Hamlet’

You would be hard pressed to find me wanting to watch a Shakespeare production willingly. While I am painfully aware his works are considered the echelon of fine performance arts training, my distaste for it only grew as a vast majority of Shakespeare productions only utilize white actors for the meaningful parts.

Until now.

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The Gift of Sanaz Toosi’s ‘English’

What goes into learning a foreign language for your livelihood? How does one prepare to become a foreigner in an unfamiliar country? Encapsulating the migrant experience through the microcosm of a TOEFL class in 2008 Karaj, Iran, Sanaz Toosi’s searingly beautiful play English, directed by Knud Adams, answers all of this and much more, running at The Atlantic Theater in New York City to critical acclaim.

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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Celestial Events’

As in-person theatre is making more of a return throughout the United States and particularly in Los Angeles where I reside, there’s been a surge of plays that deal with traumatic topics of race when all or most of their cast members are that of Global Majority.

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Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Poor Clare’

To be watching plays again inside a theatre after 18 months was certainly a strange experience considering that Poor Clare, now playing at the Echo Theater Company, was something I was supposed review right before the pandemic shut everything down and drastically altered our lives for many months to come. To finally be able to watch this play (written by Chiara Atik and directed by Alana Dietze) was made all the worthwhile in how utterly fantastic it was and how much its themes struck even harder after everything we experienced during this chaotic time.

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Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘An Octoroon’

During intermission while watching An Octoroon (written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Judith Moreland) at the Fountain Theatre, an old white woman randomly came up to me and asked what I found so amusing in this play. First, I had to get over the shock that a live human being was touching me (without permission) and getting up in my face to ask this question because after all, this was my first time watching a play with a live audience (albeit in an outdoor theater) in 16 months. Second, what WAS I and primarily all the other POC audience members laughing about?

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Southern Fried Asian: Edward Hong

This month’s guest on Southern Fried Asian, Edward Hong, has been tapped to deliver the commencement address for the APIA students of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. A fitting tribute to the college’s first ever Asian American Studies graduate in the 300-year-old institution’s history.

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Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Antigone, Presented By The Girls of St. Catherine’s’

Antigone

They all have a million secrets. What’s so bad about this one? The St. Catherine’s drama club is struggling to put up its first school play – Sophocles’ “Antigone.” As if staging this tragedy in an all-girls Catholic school isn’t challenging enough, the cast’s beloved director ends up betraying them in an unforgivable way — and it’s almost opening night! The cast must figure out the right course of action, all while rehearsing a classic play about impossibly difficult choices. What is the right thing to do? And must the show go on?

Antigone, Presented By The Girls Of St. Catherine’s came with much eager anticipation. Presented by Sacred Fools (which put up a fantastic world premiere production of Gifted), written by Madhuri Shekar, and directed by Reena Dutt (who knocked it out of the park with her previously directed play Defenders), did the play met my expectation? More after the jump below:

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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘West Adams’

Earlier this month, I watched the opening premiere of West Adams at the Skylight Theatre Company and the first immediate thought I had when it finished was:

“Oh damn, this is Rich Liberal White People (And One Chinese Woman) Gone Crazy.”

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I’ll definitely go more into this after the break as there were tremendous things to be praised for this show (acting, directing, and production design aspects) but at the core of it was a very troubling and, at times, a baffling story. Who was the intended audience? That aspect remains unclear but more on this later:

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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Gifted’

Co-written with Edward Hong

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What do you do when you’re born with a superpower but it’s really not that super? Especially if it’s a power that can accurately pinpoint the success or failure of any romantic relationship? Gifted, which is currently playing at the Sacred Fools till February 29, explores this question in a world not at all too different from our own. Written by Bob DeRosa and directed by Rebecca Larsen, the play takes a somewhat absurd premise into a truly in-depth and touching story that is a feast for the eyes, ears, and the heart.

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Hard NOC Life: ‘Spider-Man’ Into the Multiverse

This week on Hard NOC Life, Dominic Mah returns as guest co-host to join Keith for additional spoilery Endgame thoughts. This time with more Spider-Man: Far From Home!

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10 Things to Consider If You Haven’t Read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Yet

The script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth and probably final story about Harry Potter, was finally released yesterday. Written exclusively for the stage by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling, and John Tiffany, the London play is nearly all sold out through December 2017, and Potterheads everywhere celebrated the midnight release with costume parties. Fanfare aside, the big question is, is it worth the read? Here’s ten things to consider (without plot spoilers!):

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Harry Potter and the Fact That Hermione is Black

Hermione Granger means so much to so many girls, myself included. She’s smart and brave — the smartest witch of her age — and saved the world. She’s someone who prefers books to people (except a select few) and can be brass and bold at times when girls are usually told not to be. She’s a role model and a mirror. And because her race is never specified in the Harry Potter series, many girls around the world can picture someone who looks like them as her character. She was of course, cast as white in the Hollywood adaptations of the books — because Hollywood gonna Hollywood — but that doesn’t mean that she has to be white in all adaptations of the series. Buzzfeed already showed us the mounds of Hermione-as-black fanart that exists in the world. And now that dream that so many of us had is coming true.

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