Ferocious Lotus Sets 10th Anniversary Show For September

EVOLUTION runs Friday, September 16 through September 25 at Live Oak Theater in Berkeley.

By: Aug. 15, 2022
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In celebration of its 10th Anniversary, Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company presents EVOLUTION, a festival of six original short plays exploring what it means to be Asian/Asian-American (initially slated to premiere in 2020). This show, a co-production with TheatreFirst, is the Company's first in-person production since the pandemic. EVOLUTION runs Friday, September 16 through September 25 at Live Oak Theater in Berkeley.

EVOLUTION was curated by Artistic Director May Liang and Managing Director/Artistic Producer Cindy Cesca Yoshiyama, with extensive collaboration with the Ferocious Lotus company. Celebrating Ferocious Lotus' achievements from the past 10-plus years and setting the stage for the next decade, this collection of six short plays looks at modern relationships and ancient texts, parenting, time travel, personal and cultural identities - examining the ever-evolving and multitudinous definition of what it means to be Asian and Asian American.

"EVOLUTION speaks to the collective moment we are living in, where the past, present, and future can feel like illusions of time - especially in the context of the past three years. It's also a moment for us to be able to examine who we are as API artists and envision the future as individuals, artists, and as a community," said Cesca Yoshiyama. "It feels right to come back in this way: celebrating our anniversary by reimagining the first Ferocious production, which was also a festival of one-acts," added Liang. "It's a full circle moment for us."

The show, which was developed in collaboration with the company members of Ferocious Lotus, includes short plays written by Bay Area playwrights Geetha Reddy, Leon Goertzen, Cindy Cesca Yoshiyama, Sango Tajima, Lisa Kang, and Greg Lam; which will be directed by May Liang, Rinabeth Apostol, and Ogie Zulueta.

EVOLUTION will feature a cast of four, including Karla Acosta, Alan Coyne, Mithra (Lee) Vankipuram, and Karen Offereins. The production features scenic and properties design by Randy Wong-Westbrooke, costume design by Mari Carson, lighting and projection design by Spenser Matubang, and sound design by Michael Kelly.

The Plays:

Mahãbh?rata, by Geetha Reddy, directed by Ogie Zulueta

The Mahãbh?rata is the great Indian epic dating back to 800 BC, and is retold generation after

generation in ways that are relevant to the time. This excerpt is a bold new retelling of the ancient text in a one-person representation that explores the epic for a new generation. Geetha Reddy's plays include A Mahãbh?rata at Ubuntu, Far, Far Better Things at Shotgun Players/TheatreFirst, Hela with Lauren Gunderson at TheatreFirst, Safe House at SF Playhouse, and Blastosphere with Aaron Loeb at CentralWorks.

Casa Vega, by Leon Goertzen, directed by Ogie Zulueta

Danielle reveals the skeletons in her closet to her latest date, Tanya. Will unpacking the details of her past bring her closer to her date or scare her away? And will acknowledgement of her toxic past help Danielle evolve from her past mistakes and enter a healthy relationship? Leon Goertzen has worked at East West Players, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Will and Company, Magic Theatre, Asian American Theater Company, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Road Theatre Company, Cutting Ball Theater, PlayGround, Aurora Theater Company, Bay Area Playwright's Festival, California Conservatory Theatre and New Conservatory Theater. Film credits include Quitters (with Kieran Culkin and Mira Sorvino) and Beauty and The Blade.

Where Are We Going?, by Cindy Cesca Yoshiyama, directed by Rinabeth Apostol

Past, present, and future self are on a wild gondola ride for a bachelorette party -- only the party isn't all that it's cracked up to be. The journey through the Grand Canal becomes an epic journey of self-discovery that transcends culture and identity. Cindy Cesca Yoshiyama co-created and wrote for the 2021 Ferocious Lotus virtual production of ROOTED, and the FEROCIOUS FUTURES SHOWCASE. She has served as the managing director of the

company since 2015 and is also the company's artistic producer. As a writer, she has published

more than 5,000 articles for magazines and newspapers, and has brought Asian American theatre artists and AAPI stories to the stage for almost 20 years.

The Floater, by Sango Tajima, directed by May Liang

Suki has WebMD'd herself back to Planned Parenthood again. Her boss just keeps her around for burrata salads and cultural consulting. And sometimes she feels ... invisible. Nothing some good friends and a yoni steam can't cure! Sango Tajima is a performer / multi-disciplinary artist / arts administrator based in Oakland, CA. She has worked at Cal Shakes, Berkeley Rep, Guthrie Theater, Shotgun Players, Campo Santo, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Cutting Ball Theater, Magic Theatre, Bay Area Children's Theatre, Playwright's Foundation, and performed on stages in Japan, China, Korea, and Israel. As a playwright her work has been produced with Ragged Wing Ensemble, and she devised and created several plays and actions with the political theatre collective The Bonfire Makers.

Written in Water, by Lisa Kang, directed by May Liang

Smoke has filled Bay Area skies once again. Isolated in their apartment, Jinnie and Sanjay feel an urge to make changes in their lives. Jinnie wonders if she should have a child to please her traditional parents. She reaches across time to an ancestor on the Mongolian Steppe for answers, but is brought back into the present by her spouse Sanjay, who has decided to adopt the female identity that Sanjay she has kept hidden from everyone but Jinnie. Lisa Kang has acted, taught, written and produced for Bay Area theater, and her written works have been performed in the Bay Area, Seoul, and Taipei. She is the founder of Same Boat Theater Collective, a Bay Area company that tells stories that connect people with the Earth.

Interventions, by Greg Lam, directed by Rinabeth Apostol

INTERVENTIONS is a funny, fast paced romp about time travel, romance, and the consequences of decisions. Because time travel is hard, but parenting is harder. Greg Lam is a Bay Area playwright, screenwriter, and board game designer , the co-founder of the Asian-American Playwright Collective, and a member of The Pulp Stage Writer's Room and the Pear Theatre's Playwright Guild. In 2019, he was named a fellow in the Dramatic Arts by the Mass Cultural Council and the inaugural Pao Fellow of the Company One PlayLab.

The Directors:

May Liang was named Artistic Director of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company after serving as Literary Manager from 2014 to 2019. She has worked with American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theater's Ground Floor Lab, California Shakespeare Theater, Crowded Fire Theater (Resident Artist), Cutting Ball Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation, Bindlestiff Studios, Contra Costa Civic Theater, PlayGround Center for New Plays (Directing Fellow 2017), San Francisco Playhouse, TheatreFirst, TheaterWorks, and Ubuntu Theater Project. May was a member of the 2017 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, a member of the 2019 Directors Lab Chicago, and was nominated for Outstanding Direction of a Play at the 2018 Theater Bay Area Awards. May graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in theatre and performance studies and integrative biology.

Rinabeth Apostol is an award-winning actor, educator, director, and activist. She most recently directed and choreographed Disney's The Lion King Jr. with a cast of more than 100. Other favorite projects include Sam + Alexis in the Ferocious Futures Showcase, Your Best (Asian) American Girl, A Chorus Line, Footloose, Young Frankenstein, FAME, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Bomb-itty of Errors. As an actor she has appeared at American Conservatory Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Seattle Rep, TheatreWorks, California Shakespeare Theatre, The Magic, Arizona Theater Company, East West Players, and Berkeley Repertory, among others. Apostol is also a regular guest lecturer for high schools, and colleges where she facilitates "Intro to the Industry" Q&A sessions for BIPOC students interested in a future in entertainment, as well as lectures on Race & Gender Inequity in the Arts & Media. She is currently The Class of 1939 Artist in Residence and Asian Distinguished Theater Fellow at College of William & Mary. Find her @rbdtwo or rinabeth.com.

Ogie Zulueta has worked with several SF/Bay Area theatres including A.C.T. for Monstress (The Strand Theatre) and The New Americans (First Look Workshop Series); Crowded Fire Theater for 100 Flowers Project and The Late Wedding; Magic Theatre for Dogeaters; Ferocious Lotus for Lu Shen, the Mad; Center REP for Sisters Matsumoto; Ubuntu Theatre for Rashomon, Streetcar Named Desire, and Hamlet; AlterTheatre Ensemble for Circular; and Live Oak Theatre for Red Winged Black Bird. She has also worked with La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Pacific Playwrights Festival, Mark Taper Forum, L.A. Stories, Antaeus Theatre Company/Boston Court, Singapore Repertory, East West Players, Nevada Shakespeare in The Park, Deaf West, and more. Film & T.V credits include Day Without A Mexican, Pink as the Day She was Born, How to Make your First Billion & Save the World, My Bad Dad, One West Waikiki, First Years, 2 Guys and a Girl, L.A. Heat, Models Inc.

Ferocious Lotus is interested in stories that reflect, investigate, challenge, and celebrate the many ways to live and create as an Asian/Asian American artist, citizen, and human in the world, with a lens on either the past, present, or future. Ferocious Lotus's past work includes the highly acclaimed rolling world premiere of TWO MILE HOLLOW by Leah Nanako Winkler, CRANE by JC Lee, the co-production of the world premiere of Christopher Chen's MUTT, and along with the San Francisco Public Library, the long running one-woman play TYE about Tye Leung Schulze, the first Chinese-American woman to vote and activist against human trafficking in early-1900s Chinatown. For more information, visit www.ferociouslotus.org.

EVOLUTION is a Coproduction with TheatreFirst. Ferocious Lotus is a member of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, networking and consulting for artists, and is supported in part by a Civic Arts Grant from the City of Berkeley and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.