(A User's Manual for Lovers of Asians)

author/director: Ralph B. Peña
musical director: Dominick Amendum
lighting design: Vince Hokia
performers: Angel Desai, Megan Johnson Briones, Rodney To, John Wernke and Virgina Wing

Performance Schedule:
May 30th - June 23rd, 2002
Thursday - Saturday 10:00pm
Sunday 5:30
The Club

Ma-Yi Theater Company offers a diverting cabaret about the changing nature of the Asian-American lovescape with "This End Up (A User's Manual for Lovers of Asians)," written and directed by Ralph B. Peña. The evening combines a play on culturally-unexpected love affairs with a pastiche of old-fashioned songs (with new twists), yielding a funny, direct, yet romantic look at the dating game between Asians and non-Asians.

The play celebrates liberation from Asian love stereotypes, sexual fantasies toward occidentals, self-acceptance of homosexuality among Asian men and the outrageousness of a fag hag lusting for an Asian gay man. Ming is a twenty-something gay Asian man (delicate as a Ming vase). He beguiles Dickie, an Iowa boy who is also in love with Jenny, an Ivy League student and cheongsam princess who is sleeping her way through the English faculty. She just happens to be Ming's sister. To this complex dating situation are added Elena, a 40-ish Asian ex-nun who gets hot for men who resemble biblical characters, and Bunny, a Soho intellectual who prefers gay men--especially Ming. It's a love pentagon in which the five lives are linked by devotion, lust and songs.

The performers, all terrific singers, are Angel Desai, Megan Johnson Briones, Rodney To, John Wernke and Virgina Wing. Musical director is Dominick Amendum. Lighting design is by Vince Hokia.

Author/director Ralph B. Peña is a founding member and Artistic Director of Ma-Yi. He is an actor, director, and playwright. He has performed at The Grove Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theatre, La MaMa E.T.C. and The Round House Theatre, among others. His plays have been produced by Ma-Yi Theatre Company, The New WORLD Theatre in Amherst, MA, The Northwest Asian American Theatre in Seattle, Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu, San Diego Asian American Repertory, The Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Public Theatre. He is the recipient of a commission from South Coast Repertory and a Rockefeller Foundation grant to the Bellagio Study Center in Italy. Mr. Peña has served on the artist panel of the New York State Council on the Arts since 1997. He was most recently seen in "Dogeaters" at the Public Theater.

Ma-Yi Theater Company, now in its thirteenth season, is devoted to plays of the Filipino-American experience and Pan-Asian texts. The company encourages crosscultural and intercultural collaborations between Asian and non-Asian artists. Its stories, while culturally specific, are meant to be broad re-statements of the American experience. It has achieved prominence recently with its productions of "Middle Finger" and "Watcher"; both were plays by Han Ong, who, at 33, became the youngest artist to ever earn the MacArthur Foundation's "genius" grant. Its other notable productions include "The Square," an anthology of short works by various authors (eight Asian and eight non-Asian) at the Public Theater (2001), "PeregriNasyon" by Chris Millado (1998), and other works including "Flipzoids," Portrait of an Artist as Filipino" and an adaptation of Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children" by Rodolfo Carlos Vera.

The troupe is named for the ancient term Chinese traders used to refer to a group of islands that is known today as the Philippines. The company chose this name in recognition of the vibrant culture that existed in Ma-Yi prior to the coming of the colonizers from the West.

Ma-Yi's Website

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