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End Of Scene Blog Entries
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013
Ken makes a scene about why he wrote LIFE ON PAPER
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[EXCERPTED REVIEW] Broadway World makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[REVIEW] The Houston Press makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
SUNDAY, FEB 3, 2013
Ken makes a scene about an upcoming reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre
FRIDAY, FEB 1, 2013
Ken makes a scene about joining Season Two of House Of Cards
SATURDAY, DEC 8, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a letter from Liz Engelman
THURSDAY, DEC 6, 2012
Ken makes a scene about "Red State Blue State" on This American Life
MONDAY, NOV 5, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a stage adaptation of Warrior Class for the BBC.
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 2012
Ken makes a scene about participating in Baltimore Center Stage's MY AMERICA PROJECT, directed by Hal Hartley
SUNDAY, JUL 29, 2012
Errol Louis makes a scene about Warrior Class on NY1's INSIDE CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY, JUL 25, 2012
Head critic for NYTimes makes a scene about Warrior Class on WQXR's Around Broadway.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: Variety makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JAN 24, 2012
Ken makes a scene about The Montgomery New's Review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, JAN 19, 2012
Ken makes a scene about STAGE Magazine's review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, DEC 1, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a remarkable piece of writing about the American theatre
TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a character's stage transformation
MONDAY, NOV 21, 2011
Ken makes a scene about WARRIOR CLASS online
TUESDAY, SEP 27, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Asian American Performers Action Committee
MONDAY, SEP 26, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the fast work of SCR's casting department
FRIDAY, SEP 16, 2011
Ken makes a scene about Anne Garcia-Romero's post about LoNyLa
WEDNESDAY, JUL 6, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's $150,000 grant to FALLOW
SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2011
A letter from Kaitlin Hopkins - Head of the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State
TUESDAY, FEB 15, 2011
Ken makes a scene about science plays.
WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Intelligence-Slave making the Houston Chronicles Top Theater Shows of 2010 list
TUESDAY, OCT 19, 2010
Ken makes a scene about intra out-group persecution.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about why theater is not a humanity.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Athol Fugard's criticism about the failure of modern dramatists
MONDAY, JUL 26, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the diverse audience of Queens Theater in the Park
SUNDAY, JUN 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the Jewish Herald-Voice's profile of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
WEDNESDAY, JUN 2, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Lee Williams's review of Intelligence-Slave in the Houston Press
TUESDAY, JUN 1, 2010
Ken makes a scene about his Intelligence-Slave interview with culturemap.com
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Everett Evans's review in the Houston Chronicle
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
Ken makes a scene about sharing a collective spirituality in the theater
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Ken makes a scene about seeing the bird through the feathers
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about tech, letting go of the play and making discoveries in production
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Press
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene for the Alley Theatre's Mark Bly
WEDNESDAY, APR 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about being playwright 151 in Adam Szymkowicz's blog.
THURSDAY, APR 8, 2010
Ken makes a scene about changing the name of his play.
THURSDAY, MAR 18, 2010
Ken makes a scene about pundits and why Tom Hanks is "injecting" racism into World War II.
TUESDAY, MAR 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about writing "winning" dialogue.
MONDAY, MAR 15, 2010
Ken makes a scene about agents and the ecology of show business.
SATURDAY, MAR 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the beauty of the theater actor
THURSDAY, DEC 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about non-English language productions
TUESDAY, NOV 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about reviewing business books for theater artists
WEDNESDAY, NOV 4, 2009
Ken makes a scene about THE BIG REWRITE!
TUESDAY, OCT 27, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the discovery of an algorithm for happiness (7ZJJBYD9U6PX)
THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Holocaust fiction as a literary genre
TUESDAY, OCT 13, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Asians who don't go to the theater.
MONDAY, OCT 5, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the challenge of bravery in the theater.
MONDAY, SEP 28, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the death of Tragedy and Comedy.
TUESDAY, SEP 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Dave Matthews's statement that racism is "everywhere" in America.
WEDNESDAY, SEP 16, 2009
Ken makes a scene about why playwrights need websites.
End of Scene Blog

Po Boy Tango at East West Players and the fight against archetypal humans.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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As promised I am giving fore-warning to everyone who might be in danger of seeing one of my plays. So, I am pleased to announce that Po Boy Tango has officially begun rehearsals for it's West Coast premiere at East West Players. The play is directed by Oahn Nguyen and will star CeCe Antoinette, Dennis Dun and Jeanne Sakata. Previews run from November 5 - 8; Opening Night is November 11 and the show will run until December 6. If you are wondering if Po Boy Tango is for you, check out Act One here. To find out more about East West Players's production of Po Boy Tango, click on the link here.

This production at East West Players is a very big deal for me. When I started dreaming about becoming a playwright and began to follow the careers of Chay Yew, Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang and the like, I put a production at East West Players on my list of milestones to define a career as a meaningful Asian American theater artist. I am humbled by East West Players's mission and am humbled that Artistic Director Tim Dang has decided to put my work on his stage ... with real food! So, I'm very excited these days, and I'm sending the artistic team out in Los Angeles all my love.

Given that I am about to be produced at one of the most venerable Asian American theaters in the country, I thought that this would probably be a good moment to begin the on-going discussion that this blog intends to have about the American Theater from a Chinese playwright's perspective. For an overview of some of the current trends in the Asian American Theater, check out this article by Mark Blankenship, a classmate of mine from Yale and the driving force behind the fresh and innovative website/blog, The Critical Condition . Mark is a star in the new school of aesthetic critique and I think you'll be hearing a lot from him in the years to come. For a comprehensive history of Asian immigration and social issues, I've found the site Asian-Nation to be very helpful. [Note: Please be aware, the Asian-Nation site is very rich in content and I certainly haven't thoroughly vetted the entire site. Please, use this site and its content with the caution with which you use other reference sites on the web.]

With that groundwork laid, I'd like to explore the difficulties in getting Asian audiences into the theater. A few years back, one of my professors was working on a revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Flower Drum Song. He and his cohorts conducted market research about the theater-going habits of Asians and they found that ... (drum roll) ... Asian don't go to the theater! The book for Flower Drum Song was re-written by David Henry Hwang (genius); it was based on a novel by C. Y. Lee (a Chinese American) and it starred Lea Salonga (a bonafide musical theater super-star). But, the production could not count on filling the seats with a significant proportions of the hundreds of thousands of Asians living in the New York Metropolitan area. What was going on? [Full disclosure: I didn't go see the musical, but I also wasn't living in the New York Metropolitan area at the time.]

Well, there are a number of things going on here that play into the dynamics of all the Asian American productions that are struggling to find space on our stages. Sure, you can say that Asian American demographics are misleading because Asian American communities are so diverse. Sure, you can also say that Asians today aren't motivated to see a musical written by white people about the Asian American experience in the 1960's. But, I don't think it can be argued that Asian Americans have, thus far, failed to impose their unique experience on the greater landscape of the general American experience. While I applaud the Asian theaters in the country for their important work, I am concerned by an Asian American audience that neglects to vote with its feet and demand Asian American stories on American stages and screens. At best this suggests an unwillingness to engage in society at large, opting instead for more familiar intra-group experiences. At worst, it concedes that Caucasians are archetypal human beings.

Granted, it's incredibly difficult to fight this. When I was living in Taipei, virtually all of the advertisements in the subway featured Caucasian models. The Japanese import American movie stars to hawk their wares. If the Asian media treats Asians as second-class citizens in Asia, what chance do Asians in America have of asserting their own unique voices?!

This should be an important issue for all of us, moving forward, because the Asian American dinner-table, regardless of demographics, is going to be one of the most important battlegrounds for ideas in America. In reading the op-eds and hearing the dogmatic timbre of contemporary political discourse, it seems clear that the conversation has become so polarized that we find ourselves intellectually grid-locked. We need alternative perspectives.

Asian Americans are so important at this moment in history because their story embodies, practically, both schools of thought that are wrenching the nation apart.

Modern Liberalism owes much to John Rawl's contention that ethical systems, under a veil of ignorance, must pay the most attention to the worst off in society. Modern Conservatism owes much to Robert Nozick's contention that individual rights should be paramount in ethical systems. Asian Americans are uniquely tapped in to both systems. With deep ties to the immigrant community, Asian Americans often have access to the worst off in society. (Don't be surprised if your favorite waiter at the Chinese restaurant you frequent is an indentured servant.) At the same time, the Asian American immigrant story embodies the myth of rugged individualism, success and bravery that is so deeply woven into the story that Americans as a whole like to tell about themselves. Look at the Asian American dinner table and see, seated, people who struggle at the lowest tiers of American society while also chasing the most vibrant American dreams. These dinner tables are multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-generational and deeply American.

As Asian American artists, it's important to remember our places at these tables and to relay what is whispered there (more likely shouted) to the ears of a greater American audience. As Asian Americans, we must remember the important place that we hold in this country and its ever-unfolding story. As Americans we must strive to listen.

end of scene
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