About this Event
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | 4:00PM - 5:30PM (PST) | Zoom Webinar
Intersections of Asian and Black Cultures in Theatre - Velina Hasu Houston with Elizabeth Wong and Philip Kan Gotanda, moderated by Snehal Desai and Eugene Lee
The USC East Asian Studies Center presents, in association with East West Players and the Black and Latino Playwrights’ Celebration, Intersections of Asian and Black Cultures in Theatre as part of the Race/Solidarity: Transpacific Conversations series. This series invites faculty and guest speakers to discuss the current racial reckoning at USC and beyond and start this conversation within a global context. This series will provide a platform for faculty and students to engage with a host of social and cultural issues related to race and racism on both sides of the Pacific. Our aim is to help broaden and deepen the current discussion on race with global and historical perspectives, drawing in particular on the expertise and connections of our affiliated faculty and graduate students who have worked on these topics within diverse East Asian contexts and among Asian diasporic communities.
A panel of noteworthy professional playwrights will explore intersections of Asian and Black cultures reflecting upon their plays, theatre’s capacity to illuminate trans-cultural experience, and the impact of theatre on society. The playwrights will include Elizabeth Wong (Kimchee and Chitlins: A Serious Comedy About Getting Along), Philip Kan Gotanda (Yohen), and Velina Hasu Houston (Tea). The panel will be moderated by Snehal Desai, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players, the nation’s oldest Asian American theatre company; and Eugene Lee, Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwrights Celebration, a workshop and showcase featuring professional Black and Latino playwrights and professional guest directors and artists with a focus on craft, cultivation of the artist, and celebration of the work.
Please register for the event if you would like to attend.
Velina Hasu Houston
Distinguished Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing and Director of Dramatic Writing, USC School of Dramatic Arts
Velina Hasu Houston is honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, and others. She founded graduate playwriting studies at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, where she is Distinguished Professor, Director of MFA Dramatic Writing and Head of Undergraduate Playwriting, and Resident Playwright; she also teaches for the USC Jimmy Iovine & Andre Young Academy and is an Associated Faculty Member of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture; and Affiliated Faculty with American Studies & Ethnicity and East Asian Studies Center.
American Playwright, Director, Theatre Producer
Elizabeth Wong’s work includes Letters To A Student Revolutionary, Dating & Mating in Modern Times, Code of Conduct: A Soldiers’ Awakening at Guantanamo, Tam Tran Goes To Washington, and China Doll, a sensual fantasia inspired by the life of movie icon Anna May Wong. She has been awarded the Tanne Foundation Grant for artistic achievement, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, and the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. Ms. Wong was a Disney Writing Fellow, a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed columnist, and writer for the ABC sitcom All-American Girl starring Margaret Cho. Currently, she teaches theatre at Boston Conservatory@Berklee.
Philip Kan Gotanda
American Playwright, Professor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley
Philip Kan Gotanda has been a major influence in the broadening of our definition of theater in America. Through his plays and advocacy, Mr. Gotanda has been instrumental in bringing stories of Asians in the United States to mainstream American theater as well as to Europe and Asia. The author of one of the largest canon of Asian American themed work, Mr. Gotanda is a seminal figure in the field of Asian American Drama. Mr. Gotanda’s plays are studied and performed extensively at universities, colleges and learning institutions in the United States and abroad.
Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwrights Celebration
Eugene Lee's career offers a singular combination of on and off-screen expertise. He has appeared on stage across the country and across the globe. He has worked and traveled with New York’s renowned Negro Theatre Ensemble, performing in the Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Soldier's Play" and numerous other works. He is considered a "Wilsonian Warrior" for his many appearances in the works of August Wilson, including the Broadway production of "Gem of the Ocean.". Lee is Artist in Residence and Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwright's Celebration at Texas State University which celebrated its 17th year in 2020. Through this venue, Lee has brought playwrights and students, together with professional directors and performers to work on developing new plays with those aspiring to have their voices heard. Lee was inducted into the prestigious Texas Institute of Letters in 2018.
Producing Artistic Director of East West Players
Snehal Desai is the Producing Artistic Director of East West Players, the longest-running theater of color in the country. He currently serves on the boards of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) and Theater Communications Group (TCG). A director, writer and solo performer, Snehal was in the Inaugural Class of TCG’s ‘Spark’ Leadership Program. He was also the inaugural recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship. Snehal is on the faculty of USC's graduate program in Arts Leadership.
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