The Asian Pacific American (APA) population is seriously under-represented on stage. “Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings” is a staged play reading series intended to provide inspiration, space, and audiences for Midwest APA playwrights, directors, and actors. Curated by Mia Park and produced by Asian Improv Arts Midwest’s AA Arts Incubator, “Our Perspective” is the first play reading series of its kind in Chicago and takes place at Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre, where it is presented as part of the LookOut Series.
Reading Four: A Full Length Play
First Data Gold
by Tanuja Jagernauth, directed by Puja Mohindra
Monday, October 22 at 6pm
Sunny is the broke outcast of his conservative, South Asian family and the biggest Mets fan that ever lived. His girlfriend, Masiko, is a Dominican statistician with a knack for making winning bets on baseball and harnessing quantum space. Sunny is shocked when his estranged, toxic father, a die-hard Yankees fan, invites him to this weekend’s Mets vs. Yankees game at Citi Field in Queens. At the game, Sunny’s dad invites him to join his brand new, multi-level marketed cannabusiness, confirming Masiko’s suspicions that the whole thing is a trap. Will Sunny put his conflicted family past behind him and go into business with his father for a shot at financial security and family reunification or will he remain true to the values he shares with Masiko?
CAST AND ARTISTS
KAISER ZAKI AHMED
Time Magazine’s recent article on the lack of Asian American representation on television confirms what we already know: the Asian Pacific American (APA) population is seriously under-represented.* The same can be said for APA under representation in the oldest form of public story sharing, the theatrical stage. NBC News reported on Asian Americans in theatre speaking out against the white washing of Asian roles in entertainment and the challenges the APA community faces in the acting industry.
Chicago’s theatre community is a microcosm of global theatre’s lack of APA opportunities. As a Chicago based Korean American actress and playwright for almost twenty years, I’ve experienced directly how, locally, our voices are often unheard in plays and on-screen. Since 2016, I’ve advocated for the training of local Asian American actors by hosting educational workshops in order to provide a qualified talent pool for casting directors to choose from, so the excuse of Chicago not having talented APA actors can no longer apply.
I recognize that an important way to continue advocating for the APA voice is to provide inspiration, space, and an audience for local Asian American playwrights, directors, and actors in the series, “Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings.”