Do Not Stop the Press

23 Sep

2amtlogoAs many of you have likely heard, there’s been a mountain of controversy surrounding a now cancelled production of The Mikado that New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players were going to mount at NYU’s Skirball Center in December. Personally, I couldn’t handle the blatant racism that emerged and people’s carefulness in not calling out the racists. 2AMtheatre was awesome enough to give me a platform on which to express myself, and boy did I ever.

Important Poo by A. Rey Pamatmat (, September 23, 2015)

Please feel free to blog, re-post, tweet, Facebook, and link the $#!% out of this one!

In addition, there have been a couple of articles on WBUR recently talking about Company One who produced Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them in Boston last spring. They’re not really about the play but rather about how it fits into Company One’s mission, and the innovative and energetic ways the theatre pursues that mission. Still, I had such a great time in Boston with them and the Huntington that I thought the articles were worth sharing.

How One Local Theater Is Connecting To The Diverse Audiences Of Tomorrow Today (WBUR’s The Artery, September 14, 2015)

Company One Has A Social Network All Its Own (WBUR’s The Artery, September 15, 2015)

The review kerfuffle surrounding that same production got ANOTHER mention in American Theatre. This time in an enlightening and oh, so necessary article on unconscious bias by colleague-in-arms Joy Mead. Please give this one a read! Not only does it collect fascinating facts, but it gives you plenty to chew on when experiencing new work or selecting it for production.

What Lies Beneath: The Truth About Unconscious Bias (American Theatre, September 21, 2015)

Finally, book land! Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them will be part of a Vintage Anthology coming out this winter called Plays for Three, edited by Eric Lane and Nina Shengold. And Linda’s final monologue from after all the terrible things I do will be printed in the new edition of Monologues for Actors of Color: Women, edited by Roberta Uno.

You know I’m excited about all of these articles and publications. As a queer playwright of color, knowing that my work is not only leaving an impression but potentially diversifying audiences’ experiences of theatre (and actors and people) and giving people of color jobs in the arts and the tools to succeed in those jobs — IT’S A GOOD FEELING.

Another Two Show Spring!

15 Sep

That’s right! It looks like Spring 2016 has decided to mimic Spring 2015 only in two separate cities.

Ma-YI LogoFirst, the world premiere news! In March 2016, my newest play House Rules will be produced by The Ma-Yi Theatre Company at HERE Arts Center, directed by Ma-Yi Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña. To say that I am bouncing off the walls that this play is being mounted by my primary artistic incubator would be an understatement. I’m in pain, y’all, IN PAIN from all this bouncing off walls, floor, ceiling, down stairs… OW!!! And for this season my show will come just after Washer/Dryer by Nandita Shenoy (a fellow member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab of which I’m currently co-director) and a remount of Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (who was co-director of the Lab for much of my membership and Artistic Director of 2g when they mounted the world premiere of Thunder Above, Deeps Below). This spring will truly be a family affair, pushing the boundaries of new Asian-American playwriting and (particularly with this season) comedy. WE GOT JOKES.

There’s an official announcement for Ma-Yi’s full season on Broadway World. Please ignore the blurb for my show, though. It got kind of cut up and weird somewhere down the line. If you need a blurb, check this out:

House Rules by A. Rey Pamatmat. Rod thinks the game is fixed. Momo’s still learning the rules. Twee doesn’t think winning is enough. JJ hates his hand. And why the hell is Henry still playing? Two families (and some guy named Henry) panic with hilarious and heart-breaking results when they realize their parents won’t be around forever. Can anybody prepare for the inevitable moment when they’re the ones left holding all the cards?

AFlogoAlso, you may have already heard since they announced in July (whoops, sorry), after all the terrible things I do will be seen next March in About Face Theatre’s 25th Anniversary Season, directed by AF Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff! I’m thrilled not just for the Chicago premiere (you know how much I love that city!!!), but because the other shows in the season are by artists for whom I have the deepest admiration. A new play by Philip Dawkins and a Bonnie Metzgar-directed production of The Five Lesbian Brothers’ The Secretaries is the very definition of being in esteemed company. I am so honored and grateful to be in the same sandbox as these folks, and if I were a Chicago resident, this is a season to which I would subscribe in a heartbeat (HINT HINT).

afterall-nodate1More news to come!

Final Shows and Some Final Thoughts

26 Jun

Eddie Shields as Benji and Gideon Bautista as Kenny. Photo courtesy of Company One.

First things first: Kenny and Benji can get married now!

And before I get into this next thing (because I am going to get into it — some of you probably already know the “it” to which I refer), LOOK AT THIS RAVE FOR COMPANY ONE‘S EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM!

Company One Hits Bull’s-Eye with EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS (Broadway World, June 24, 2015)

Bostonians, you have three more chances to see it, so get tickets now and go!

I am grateful beyond words to Shawn, Ilana, Summer, Alexandra, Josh, Gideon, Maria, Eddie, and every other damn person from artistic/production staff to street team organizers/members for such an energetic, tender, and hilarious production of the play. Seriously, don’t miss it. They are having so much fun, and trust me: you want to be in a room with those people when they’re having that much fun.

Maria Jan Carreon as Edith.

Maria Jan Carreon as Edith. Photo by Paul Fox.

And now…

This post is going to get more personal than I usually am in this space. So if you’re here just to see what I’m up to, this is your chance to jump ship with my deepest thanks for supporting my work. I’ll see you the next time I’m at the theatre. For those who want more of a glimpse inside my world than even my plays allow, hold on to your hats. Not really, but maybe just put two fingers on the rim so it stays in place on a day somewhere between breezy and blustery.

Rodney To as Kenny and Amielynn Abellera as Edith.

Rodney To as Kenny and Amielynn Abellera as Edith. Photo by Michael C. Palma.

If you’ve been following or are caught up in the swirl of events that surrounded Company One’s production of Edith and a subsequent racially-biased review, then you can understand why I want to sit and chat for a bit. If you don’t know what went on, there’s a wonderful article on Howlround by Spencer Shannon that looks at the situation from a micro/personal point of view to a macro/socio-cultural one. It includes links to some questionable reviews and plenty of my thoughts from other articles and an interview Shannon conducted of me before any of this even happened.

Isabella Dawis as Edith, Matthew Cerar as Benji and Alex Galick as Kenny. Photo by Michael Daniel.

Isabella Dawis as Edith, Matthew Cerar as Benji and Alex Galick as Kenny. Photo by Michael Daniel.

Being Real: A. Rey Pamatmat and The New American Identity (Howlround, June 23, 2015)

Before you ask, I’m not going to respond to the review directly. I just want to talk more generally about the circumstances around which the brew ha ha brewed and ha-ed.

Last summer when I was up at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference for A Power Play; Or, What’s-its-name I was prompted by the Critics Conference attendees to discuss what bothered me the most about criticism of my work. I answered, without hesitation, “When critics don’t like my plays, they will often say something racist in the review.” I went on to explain that I didn’t mind if they didn’t like the play; I just didn’t understand why they felt the need to not like it AND say something racist/biased to make sure their dislike hit home. I also explained that it upset me even more, because the review at some point passed over at least one editor’s desk and is now published, which means the racism was not only practiced but approved.


Luke Michael Grimes as Benji, Kevin Matthew Reyes as Kenny, and Aurora Adachi-Winter as Edith. Photo by Julia Dratel.

In the weeks before the review came out, almost every journalist in Boston that spoke with me asked some version of the question, “Why are your characters Filipino(-American)?” Nearly all of these questions were asked by friendly, intelligent people completely unaware of the inherently biased view in this line of inquiry: that unless there is an explicit dramaturgical justification for a character of color to appear onstage, they expect that all characters will be white. I was told that I wasn’t really writing Asian-American (or gay) plays, I was asked to point out why it was necessary for x character to be non-white, I was asked if ethnicity was essential to the story, I was even asked why I want to write about Filipinos/Filipino-Americans as though I should just be writing about white people. Members of the Company One and Huntington staffs would see me after these events and interviews with increasingly stunned faces (especially the white staffers) as they realized the extent of unexamined, casual — often even friendly or “complimentary” — bias that artists of color face.

Wes Gabrillo as Kenny, Nicole Javier as Edith, and Maro Guevara as Benji

Wes Gabrillo as Kenny, Nicole Javier as Edith, and Maro Guevara as Benji. Photo by Pak Han.

This is the context in which the review was received by us.

Once the overwhelming discontent for the review was expressed a piece came out in a different paper (an alternative news weekly, no less), that was literally a white critic asking a lot of other white critics how white critics should handle such “problems.” (I’m trying really hard not to make a connection to the phrase “The Negro Problem.”) Of course the conclusion of this article was that everyone was over-sensitive, nothing wrong happened, the critic’s intentions were more important than the system of oppression they “inadvertantly” supported, and that (white) critics are ultimately doing a good thing when they cause conversation (even if the cause of conversation is that they’ve done a bad thing). Notably, though, the article only included one half of the quote considered offensive, purposefully leaving out the part that affirmed the critic preferred (and found to be more believable) narratives for people of color in which they confront racism (e.g. narratives that are in relation to whiteness).

Well, after white supremacy has circled it’s wagons and has determined that it and only it can discuss race properly and people of color cannot, what’s an artist of color to do? Who knows?

But this is what I’m going to do.

Cory Michael Smith as Benji and Jon Norman Schneider as Kenny. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Cory Michael Smith as Benji and Jon Norman Schneider as Kenny. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

I know that there are people of color in Theatre and Theatre Studies programs all over this country. I know there are people of color in English Departments who like plays. I know there are people of color out there who just go to lots of plays as audience members. I have a request to make of all of you:


Tim Smith-Stewart as Benji, Sara L. Porkalob as Edith and Jose Abaoag as Kenny. Photos by Paul Bestock.

Tim Smith-Stewart as Benji, Sara L. Porkalob as Edith and Jose Abaoag as Kenny. Photos by Paul Bestock.

Review every play you see. Blog your reviews. Post them. Link them. And don’t just review the work of artists of color. Review the plays of older, heteronormative, white artists (they’ll actually love it, because playwrights, generally, are awesome). Offer analysis for why white artists write characters that are white. Push for dramaturgical justification of plays new and old with white characters and all-white casts (because in today’s America, one usually does need to offer such justifications). If a white playwright’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents are immigrants, speculate why they aren’t writing about the culture that they’re REALLY from. Hell, most Americans had immigrant ancestors, so just always do that no matter how many centuries the playwright’s family has been in this country.

Not only will it be useful, it will probably be a hell of a lot of fun. More than anything, it will keep theatre criticism in its rightfully elevated position of shaping American theatrical culture and will slow it’s decline into being a marketing tool with no ambitions greater than taste-/king-making.

Teresa Avia Lim as Edith. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Teresa Avia Lim as Edith. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Thank you so much for reading. Now go see Edith before it closes!

Edith Press, a Final terrible Week in Boston, and House Rules, Round 2

16 Jun

Edith34Company One’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them is in full swing, and Boston is loving it!

Review: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Theatermania, June 15, 2015)

Theater: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Joyce’s Choices, June 12, 2015)

Company One’s ‘Edith Can Shoot Things” hits the spot (Wicked Local, June 8, 2015)

They’ve got two weeks left in their run. Click here for tickets and info about some special events coming up. I only wish I could make it up to Boston one last time to see them!

Also, if you haven’t caught after all the terrible things I do at The Huntington yet, this week is your final chance. THIS IS THE FINAL WEEK. GO. NOW. GO. They’ve continued to get one impressive notice after another.

Thank you to all those folks who have reached out to personally tell me your stories and the connections you made with both plays. Even when one writes something meaningful to oneself, it’s such a surprise when it’s so meaningful to others.

Speaking of personal connections, we’ve got one more reading of House Rules at The Lark today at 3:00pm. Come on down and laugh with me in the face of death! And maybe cry a little. The cast had an amazing first go at it last night, and I learned so much from that audience. I’d love for you to take part in this stage of the play’s development, too, as we bring it into the world.

House Retreat

14 Jun

Lark LogoI apologize for the delay in posting this and am hopeful that folks can still make arrangements to come. I basically got back from Boston and plunged right into rehearsals for a workshop of House Rules at my home away from home The Lark Play Development Center. Info about the play and reservations are here, Sam Hunter and I talking about the creation of the play and some of its themes is here.

House Rules

Or, The Wrong Dude
by A. Rey Pamatmat

Rod knows the game is fixed. JJ hates his hand. Twee doesn’t think winning is enough. Momo’s learning the rules. And why the hell is Henry still playing? Two pairs of siblings (and some guy named Henry) panic when they realize their parents won’t always be around holding all the cards.

With Jojo Gonzalez, Mia Katigbak, Teresa Avia Lim, Michael Sazanov, Jon Norman Schneider, Rodney To, and Tiffany Villarin

The Lark Play Development Center
311 West 43rd Street, 5th Floor
Monday, June 15 @ 7:00 pm
Tuesday, June 16 @ 3:00 pm

after all the terrible things I do is ‘layered’ and ‘riveting’

5 Jun
Opening Shift

Tina Chilip and Zach Booth in after all the terrible things I do. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

The reviews of The Huntington’s production of after all the terrible things I do have been encouragingly positive! It’s never the point, but it’s always a relief.

A layered ‘terrible things’ at the Huntington (Boston Globe, June 5, 2015)

Riveting Examination of Guilt and Forgiveness in ‘terrible things’ at the Huntington (WBUR The ARTery, June 5, 2015)

When the Huntington and Company One put the “celebration” idea together, the extent to which people would be wondering whether my work was worth celebrating never really set in. All I really thought was, “Oh, yay — two productions at once! I’ll be busy in May/June, and I’ll have money for cookies!” Thankfully, though…

All in all, “terrible things,’’ whose title is drawn from a Frank O’Hara poem, confirms that Pamatmat warrants the copious attention being paid to him in Boston at the moment.

—The Boston Globe

Opening Shift 2

Photo by T. Charles Erickson.


If the Huntington and Company One are positing that [Pamatmat’s] is an important new voice to hear, this production of “after all the terrible things I do” makes the first half of a convincing case.

— The ARTery

Also, as mentioned previously Company One’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them started previews last night and will open tomorrow. And tonight is BosTEEN night, so send your younglings to the Calderwood where students can get $10 tickets to the show!

Finally, I haven’t mentioned a workshop I have coming up yet, because it seemed so far in the future. And now, wouldn’t you know it, it’s right around the corner! The Lark is mounting a Studio Retreat of my newest play House Rules with public presentations on June 15 @ 7pm and June 16 @ 3pm. Once Edith is open and casting is set for the Studio Retreat, I’ll post something more official. For now, you can reserve a spot for either showing on The Lark’s website.

It’s Opening Night Week!

2 Jun

image001It’s my last week in Boston, and I’m making the most of it! There are several special events this week for both after all the terrible things I do and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.

You’ll notice that many of the events are appealing pretty directly to people of color, queers, young people… young people of color, queer young people, queer people of color, and young, queer people of color. Obviously, that’s on purpose. THIS IS THEATRE FOR US — I’m making theatre for us.

First, let’s knock these out, calendar-style! There are clickable links in all of the listings, so click.

Wednesday, June 3
7pm: after all the terrible things I do Opening Night

Thursday, June 4
4pm: Theater Talk with WBUR’s Ed Siegel, featuring Peter DuBois (director of terrible things), Shawn LaCount (director of Edith), and me
8pm: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them First Preview Performance (also terrible things Performance)

Friday, June 5
6pm: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them BosTEEN Artist Night (also 8pm terrible things Performance)

Saturday, June 6 (Double Feature Day!)
2pm: after all the terrible things I do Performance
8pm: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them Opening Night

Sunday, June 7 (Double the Identity Politics, Double the Features Day!)
2pm: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them Performance (also terrible things Performance)
4pm: A post-show conversation with members of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab
7pm: after all the terrible things I do LGBTQ Youth Night, including a post-show talkback with the playwright (me!)

I mean, talk about a week, right? THAT’S A M*****F****** WEEK.

BosTEENNext, let’s talk about a couple of these in-depth, because 1) there are ticket discounts and 2) there’s important reasoning behind some of these events. The 6/6 BosTEEN Artist Night isn’t just a performance of Edith. The night also includes a social with refreshments, activities, and opportunities to meet the creative team, plus it’s all available to students for $10.

MA-YIAlso, here’s more info about the 4pm conversation featuring my beloved Labbies (and me):

Join the Huntington Theatre Company and Company One Theatre for a compelling discussion with Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the largest resident company of Asian-American playwrights, about the themes of the shows and Asian-American playwriting following the 2pm performances of after all the terrible things I do and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. The conversation will be moderated by Mike Lew, co-director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab.

If you are double featuring, you can use code MAYI20 for $20 tickets for Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them at 2pm and code MAYI25 for $25 tickets for after all the terrible things I do at 7pm.

The Labbies and I want word of this talk to spread to all of the artists of color in the Boston area. We know there are young artists of color and multi- and biracial artists of color who don’t know that there are people out there telling the stories we tell on the terms that we set. Help me reach out to those folks! If you have colleagues, students, professors, apprentices, mentors, artists, or just weirdos who need to get together and talk about making art in America (and having a shit ton of fun at the same time), please send them our way. SPREAD THE WORD!!!

LockersFinally, the LGBTQ Youth Night for terrible things is an evening that the Huntington is putting together with the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY), the Theater Offensive, and other queer youth programs. After the evening performance of terrible things dramaturg Charles Haugland and I will conduct a post-show discussion, too, to talk about themes addressed in the play including growing up LGBT, bullying in school and life, redemption, and forgiveness. There’s no code, but the groups mentioned above are getting a group rate, so if you contact them to join us on 6/7, you can make friends and come with a crew.

All right, Boston! I’m comin’ atcha STRONG. Join me in a full on theatre takeover and let’s have a week this city will never forget!

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut. Sometimes You OM.

26 May

You. People.

You AMAZING people.

after all the terrible things I do and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, their directors, and I got amazing coverage in last Friday’s Boston Globe (sorry, I was going into previews and didn’t have a chance to let you know sooner).

A double feature from playwright Pamatmat, (The Boston Globe, May 21, 2015)

Maria Jan Carreon (as Edith) and Gideon Bautista (as Kenny) in “Edith.” (Paul Fox)

Maria Jan Carreon (as Edith) and Gideon Bautista (as Kenny) in “Edith.” (Paul Fox)

I’m delighted to say that for once — even though I sound like a bit of a nut — I actually sound like myself! WOW. That’s just weird. The yoga thing makes me look crazy. The relationship to my plays and autobiography make me sound like Daniel (in terrible things). All in all, though, these are all things I said and meant to say.

WBUR has also published a wonderful article about the shows and my work with thoughts from the directors and casts of both plays. It is so encouraging to hear them say publicly how happy they are to portray characters of color I’ve written. I’m just grateful to be given the chance to bring these characters to new audiences and to them for taking on these voices in my head!

The Huntington And Company One Bring Pamatmat To Boston, (WBUR’s The ARTery, May 26, 2015)

Tina Chilip plays Linda in

Tina Chilip plays Linda in “all the terrible things I do.” (Paul Marotta)

Our first weekend of previews for terrible things was a great success with not only a positive response to every preview performance, but with talkbacks attended by people who totally understood and emotionally connected with the play! We’ve got 9 previews left between now and next Tuesday. Come join us, the show is absolutely ready, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Which brings me back to that first, “You. People.” I want to say thanks to you all for your support for and attention to my work. Being able to articulate myself clearly both about my plays and about being an artist of color is directly related to your engagement. I look forward to whatever future engagements we may have.

OM. Shanti, shanti, shanti. OM. (It’s a joke. Read the top of The Globe article. Also, in that regard, I’ve been practicing in Boston at Down Under Yoga in Brookline. The teachers have been very welcoming, and it’s been a wonderful place to maintain my practice. Check them out the next time you’re in the area!)

Pre-Show Press Previews

21 May

Preview performances for The Huntington Theatre Company’s production of after all the terrible things I do begin tomorrow! As always, I’m equal parts excitement and nervousness, although you thankfully can’t tell in this behind the scenes video the HTC crew have put together.

The press office has also posted this article by Molly Fitzmaurice introducing my work to our new Boston audience, and an interview of Clint Ramos our amazing set and costume designer by Charles Haugland.

A. Rey Pamatmat Gets to the Heart

Creating the World: An Interview with Designer Clint Ramos

Thank you all for making me look good and sound smart and stuff!

Last but certainly not least, Dig Boston has published an interview with Zach Booth who is starring as Daniel. It is a very thoughtful take not just on his character but on the larger themes of the play.

Devil’s Advocate (Dig Boston, May 20, 2015)

Please enjoy reading these well-articulated ruminations rather than watching me pace in the corner muttering, “Preview tomorrow. Preview tomorrow. PreviewtomorrowpreviewtomorrowPREVIEWTOMORROW!!!” to myself.

Pamatmat Double Feature!

6 May maxresdefault

As stated previously:


maxresdefaultThe Huntington is in rehearsals for the New England premiere of after all the terrible things I do, Company One is in rehearsals for Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, and I can barely believe that in one month’s time you will be able to see two of my plays running simultaneously at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Calderwood Pavilion. This Spring Arts Preview in the Improper Bostonian says it’s true, though, so… And there’s this fancy-schmancy write up in American Theatre(!):

A. Rey Pamatmat Looks Behind ‘all the terrible things’ for Answers, American Theatre, April 30, 2015

Rehearsals at the Huntington are an intense reminder of both how terrifying and hopeful this play can be, and I’m eager to share it with a whole new audience. I’ve also had the great pleasure this past month of meeting with the Company One folks (including the Edith cast) and am thrilled to have my play in such considerate, caring hands.

edith-slider2To that end, check out this amazing rehearsal blog the Company One dramaturgy team have put together. In one way it’s insane seeing the varied influences for a play (and life) analyzed in such depth, but in another it’s enormously comforting. Is it possible to feel so deeply understood by a handful of articles on the Internet?

Finally, the performance schedules have been set, and there are six double feature opportunities on June 6, 7, 10, 13, 17, and 20. You may also, of course, see terrible things on it’s own May 22 – June 21 or Edith on it’s own June 4 – 27, but we are trying to put together panels and events for those double feature days, if you wanted to make a whole outing of it. I’ll post that info when it’s available.

Spread the word, Boston! We’re all so grateful for the hospitality and would like to repay it with an evening (or two) of fun and surprises.


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