BWW Interviews: Tria Xiong, Artistic Director of the All-Asian Company, Theatre Esprit Asia in Denver
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me and BroadwayWorld today! On the heels of the very successful THE JOY LUCK CLUB at Vintage Theatre last year, you created the first ever all Asian theater company here in Denver - tell me what other inspirations led to the formation of Theatre Esprit Asia?
Tria: From the JLC, both Maria (my partner-in-crime/co-founder) and I saw that there was a need for an AA theatre company, that Denver folks from all backgrounds wanted to hear more stories that were not so prevalent on other theatrical stages. We also felt it was time that Denver joined the ranks of other major thriving arts cities such as NY, Minneapolis and LA with our very own AA company.
In a city of over 80 theater companies, what will set you apart from the others here in Denver or how do you hope to stand out?
Tria: I think it's evident in our stories, our season and our actors - no other theatre in town has a main focus on the Asian American voice. Other than being the first AA company in all of the Colorado region, Maria and I envision TEA to become not just a "community theatre" but a professional one where we will be recognized nationally and ranked along with other outstanding companies like East West Players, Ma-Yi Theatre, Theatre Mu Performing Arts to name a few.
There are so many different and creative forms of art and theater in the vast Asian culture, what other mediums can we look forward to?
Tria: Life-size puppetry and dance in our upcoming season.
Can you talk to me a little bit about your latest productions - DUST STORM AND SPIRIT AND SWORDED TREKS?
Tria: DUST STORM was written by a California playwright, Rick Foster and is a fictional depiction of one young Japanese boy's experience in the internment camps. SPIRIT AND SWORDED TREKS is Maria Cheng's (my partner) autobiographical journey into her spiritual exploration. Both shows were one-person shows that were double cast and have just closed this past weekend.
How was it received?
Tria: Both were very well received. DUST STORM especially by those who had direct experience with the internment and so you can imagine how powerful and emotional that show was to see.
Wonderful...What do you hope that audiences took from this production?
Tria: With the obvious - we hoped that the audiences learned a little bit about our history and walked away with a different perspective but also that they remember TEA to do something daring and different that has never been shown on the Colorado stage.
If you were not doing theater in a parallel universe, what would you be doing?
Tria: I would be a space traveler exploring life forms on other planets.
Fascinating...Is there a play or musical that you absolutely adore and would direct or perform in over and over again?
Tria: No, strangely. I don't get too attached to pieces with the exception of music but even then I don't think I would want to perform it over and over again. The idea, for me, as an actor is to play different roles, understand different points of views so that I can grow as an artist and as a person. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I can grow repeating a piece over and over again but really I would be bored doing the same song and dance every night.
What's next for you and TEA?
Tria: On the radar for TEA in the next couple of months is ACE-Asian Cabaret Evenings, a comfortable space where actors, writers, singers, flute players alike will congregate and share our works in progress. Our final play for this season will be 99 HISTORIES directed by Christy Montour-Larson, Oct 24-Nov 17th at The Vintage Theatre.
Would you like to add any other exciting news from this company that would like to share?
Tria: Just that our second season will be very, very exciting (although I can't disclose the shows until budget allows me to)!
Again thank you so much for speaking with me and BroadwayWorld today and I look forward to what is to come from Theatre Esprit Asia!
Tria: Thank YOU for taking the time to do this. I so so appreciate the PR and please do come see an ACE event if you have time. Otherwise, when 99 HISTORIES opens I would love for you to be my guest!
I will definitely be in attendance! For more information on Theatre Esprit Asia, check them out online at www.theatre-esprit-asia.org.
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