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MediaRites and CoHo Productions Present THE BROTHERS PARANORMAL

MediaRites and CoHo Productions Present THE BROTHERS PARANORMAL

MediaRites, a nonprofit organization that provides innovative, award-winning documentary, theatre and outreach programs today announced a major milestone with CoHo Productions on its first co-produced play, The Brothers Paranormal by award-winning LA playwright Prince Gomolvilas.

Theatre Diaspora, a program of MediaRites, is Oregon's only professional Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) theatre company committed to portraying authentic AAPI cultural, historical, and social perspectives to reach broad audiences. Performance dates are Oct. 25-Nov. 16, 2019 at CoHo Theatre (2257 NW Raleigh St, Portland, OR 97210) and The Brothers Paranormal will be directed by Catherine Ming T'ien Duffly, MediaRites board member and assistant professor, theatre department at Reed College.

Since its inception in 1984, MediaRites has produced a broad range of compelling content, from broadcast, film and multimedia to theatre productions and outreach projects, shining a spotlight on the stories of underrepresented communities, particularly Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Noting the distinct lack of visibility and opportunity for AAPI theatre artists in Portland, Theatre Diaspora was created as a means of addressing such inequities in 2014. MediaRites took on Theatre Diaspora as a program and has relied on community partnerships with APANO, IRCO, Portland Center Stage, Portland State University and Reed College. The co-production of The Brothers Paranormal with CoHo Productions is a milestone for Theatre Diaspora, extending its reach to the broader Portland community with a story representing People of Color (PoC).

"In 2014, the spark for Theatre Diaspora began when I had dialogues with Portland Center Stage about their production of Chinglish. I noted there hadn't been a David Henry Hwang play in more than 20 years in Portland till then. Samson Syharath and I collaborated on a staged reading of Hwang's Dance and the Railroad as a grassroots effort to combine staged readings with audience dialogues," stated Dmae Roberts, executive producer of MediaRites and Theatre Diaspora. "Five years ago MediaRites took on Theatre Diaspora as a program at a time when there was little AAPI theatre being done and when companies would either hire non-AAPI actors to portray Asians, several times in "yellowface" makeup. There was a great need for awareness about AAPI representation and stereotyping."

The Brothers Paranormal is about two Thai-American brothers and former refugees who launch a ghost-hunting business in order to capitalize on the nationwide increase in sightings of Asian-looking ghosts. When the siblings end up investigating the home of an African American couple displaced by Hurricane Katrina who claim to be haunted by one very terrifying spirit, everyone's notions of reality, fantasy, and sanity clash against the shocking truth. At its heart this play is a modern allegory about grief, loss and healing for communities of color.

"Ghost Hunting, Thai Horror, Hurricane Katrina. Bringing big ideas into an intimate setting is essential to CoHo's practice of Radical Listening: Listen. Respond. Engage," says Philip Cuomo, CoHo's artistic director. "Establishing this co-production relationship with MediaRites' Theatre Diaspora and offering a play this dynamic in style and content are the reasons why CoHo exists. We are honored to offer The Brothers Paranormal to our combined audiences this season!"

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