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TheatreFIRST Presents BALIKBAYAN BOX This Month

Performances run May 27 - June 12.

TheatreFIRST Presents BALIKBAYAN BOX This Month

TheatreFIRST will present Balikbayan Box, a new play by Bay Area wunderkind Jeffery Lo that asks "how many ways can you define love?" Joseph, a Filipino-American chef agrees to an arranged marriage with Bethany, a Filipina teacher immigrating to America. From day one, these two strangers are forced to create a world together as they grapple with the realities buried in their fiction. Balikbayan Box, both a comic and devastating tribute to the Filipino diaspora, will leave you pondering the very essence of human connection.

Balikbayan Box marks TheatreFIRST's triumphant return to art-making at Berkeley's historic and newly renovated Live Oak Theater. Directed by Michelle Talgarow and performed by Jed Parsario (member, AEA) and Lynie Abadilla, the production runs May 27 thru June 12 at Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Ave., in Berkeley, CA. Tickets are sold on a sliding scale between $5 - $25. The public can visit www.theatrefirst.com for more information.

Playwright Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director's TITAN Award. His plays have been produced and workshopped at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company, TheatreFIRST and Stanford University. His play Writing Fragments Home was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright's Conference and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwright's Conference. Jeffrey has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Asian American International Film Festival, San Jose Repertory and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and SF Playground. In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has served as a grant panelist for the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates and Theatre Bay Area. He is the Director Community Partnerships and Casting Director at the Tony Award Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. From Jeffrey: "I am so thrilled to be doing my Balikbayan Box at TheatreFirst. To me a Balikbayan Box is a Filipino symbol of caring, sharing and community. In this time where the entire world has experienced challenge after challenge, this play uplift's our community's capacity to support, celebrate and heal one another."

Director Michelle Talgarow is a Kalmyk/Filipina theatre maker in the Bay Area for over 25 years. She is a proud member of the artistic company of Shotgun Players (Berkeley) where she co-coordinates The Champagne Staged Reading Series and will be directing her first mainstage show, Man of God in 2022. She is also proud to be a member of the all AAPI theatre collective Ferocious Lotus. Michelle is currently an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco. Some of her performance credits include Utopia (Cutting Ball Theater/ Virtual performance), Dance Nation (SF Playhouse), The Fit (SF Playhouse), Vietgone (Capital Stage, Sacramento), Two Mile Hollow (Ferocious Lotus, TBA Award Nominee). From Michelle of the play: "There are a many ways to define love, but at its core, it's finding home in the other person that creates the foundation."

Supported by a generous grant from the Zellerbach Foundation, Balikbayan Box is part of TheatreFIRST's electrifying, evocative season of stories that hold space to investigate the question: What is home? We invite you to join us in the experience of these stories that explore relationships through the things, people, and places that help us make meaning, define our path, and shape our life. TheatreFirst believes the future of theatre exists at the intersection of joyful activism and the visibility of underrepresented communities. Art has no more important task than amplifying our painful truths, that we may begin to heal ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.

Performances run May 27 - June 12.

Tickets are sold on a sliding scale between $5 - $25. The public can visit www.theatrefirst.com



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