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Artists at Play Presents EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM, Opening 10/20

Artists at Play has taken on a risky venture by producing A. Rey Pamatmat's award-winning and gay-themed Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. The play tackles profound issues, including parental abandonment, coming out as a teen and the redefining of family.

"We knew we were taking a risk when we decided to produce this show," says Founding Member Stefanie Wong Lau. "Our inaugural production, Ching Chong Chinaman, was a comedy that was well received by the Asian American community, a community we had grown very close to. And while this play features Asian Americans, the show really revolves around a lot of gay and orphaned-children issues, a community we are introducing ourselves to."

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them received its world premiere in 2011 at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. It was selected by the National New Play Network to be a part of its Rolling World Premiere program. The play is the winner of the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and playwright A. Rey Pamatmat is currently under commission by South Coast Repertory and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

"The moment we read the play we knew we had to do it," says Founding Member Marie-Reine Velez. "My previous work in Center Theatre Group's Literary Department has given me an eye for spotting great writing, and this play and this playwright have talent written all over them. It was a battle to get the rights to produce the Los Angeles premiere, but we won and we're so grateful we get to bring this show to our theatre community."

Sixteen-year-old Kenny and twelve-year-old Edith are Filipino-American siblings abandoned by their parents. They have learned to make their own rules. At first, Edith believes a budding gay romance between Kenny and his high school friend Benji might break the siblings apart. But when adults threaten to get involved, Edith realizes she must protect her brother and his boyfriend, her new chosen family.

"There is so much to love about this play and its characters," says Founding Member Peter J. Kuo. "Although it is set in the 90s, it is still extremely relevant. It's not uncommon to see kids becoming independent at an early age, especially in single-parent families. Edith and Kenny's mother has passed and their father is practically non-existent. He is only around via telephone calls and to tell them what not to do. The other major theme in the play involves Kenny and Benji's relationship. A. Rey has beautifully recreated what it is like to have a first love, and the fears and dangers of realizing that love as a gay youth. When Benji's mother discovers that he's gay, she throws him out of the house. Seeing every gay teen's biggest fear realized on stage is heartbreaking. But the play's ending is extremely satisfying, if not inspiring."

The play is directed by Jennifer Chang. The cast includes Amielynn Abellera (Dusty de los Santos, Wind Chimes) in the title role, Rodney To (Wilfred, Modern Family) and Brian Hostenske (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Pride and Prejudice). Understudies include Joy Regullano, Jaime Barcelon, and Rudy Martinez.

The creative team consists of Set Designer Art Betanzos, Costume Designer Rachel Stivers, Lighting Designer Jennifer Hill, Sound Designer Dennis Yen, Property Master Naomi Kasahara, Safety Coordinator Thomas Morinaka, Dramaturg Skyler Gray and Stage Manager Amelia Worfolk.

"We've compiled an amazing team for this production," say Founding Member Julia Cho. "The show looks beautiful. And director Jennifer Chang has done an excellent job leading this talented design team and cast. Every time I see a run of the show, they bring me to tears. The acting and the writing are just that good."

Artists at Play, founded last year by Peter J. Kuo, Julia Cho, Stefanie Wong Lau and Marie-Reine Velez, aims to curate new narratives for the stage that challenge, engage and broaden the theatrical experience. After the success of their inaugural production, the Los Angeles premiere of Lauren Yee's Ching Chong Chinaman, this New Group continues to build their body of work while carving out a role in the local theatre scene.

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