Jesús Maria Josep — House Rules made it onto the Filipino news. Look at how cool Jojo is and at what a spazz I am! What the what???
I can’t believe it, but there are only 6 performances left of Ma-Yi‘s world premiere production of House Rules. You’ve heard me say a hundred times who delighted I am by this show, director, company, and production team, but you’ve never seen this trailer! So here!!!
Get tickets here before they’re all gone!
We’re in the final weekend of About Face Theatre‘s critically-acclaimed and audience-adored production of after all the terrible things I do in Chicago, and we’re just about to start the final week of Ma-Yi Theatre Company‘s critically-acclaimed and conversation starting production of House Rules in New York.
I am incredibly grateful to the directors, casts, and creative teams of both these shows and incredibly proud of the work we’ve done, not just because it’s fun to put on a show. I’m also excited that so many people in the theatre — audiences, artists, and journalists — have responded so positively to stories centered on people who seldom get to be the most important people in their own stories.
In that vein, take a look at this article published on Playbill last week in which Olivia Clement interviewed the cast of House Rules and myself about the play and Asian-American stories.
Why We Need to Start Telling a Different Kind of Asian-American Story (Playbill, April 7, 2016)
And here’s an interview of me from Stage Buddy talking about being a writer of color, developing work, and the Ma-Yi Labbies’ pursuit of world domination.
Interview: 5 Questions with “House Rules” Playwright Rey Pamatmat (Stage Buddy, April 6, 2016)
And if you want to hear me and a bunch of people WAY COOLER THAN ME speak in person about diversity in the theatre, the McCarter Theater and Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts has organized a day long symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the delivery of August Wilson’s speech “The Ground from Which I Stand.” The event is called The Ground On Which We Stand: Diversity and Opportunity in the American Theatre, Twenty Years After August Wilson’s Foundational Speech. I’ll be around for the whole symposium and will participate in the second panel that day “The Ground from Which We Step: Wilson’s Legacy and Our Contemporary Conversations” with Vivienne Benesch (who, by the way, taught me acting one summer a million years ago!), Polly Carl, Jade King Carroll, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
I’d love to see you there. More importantly, though, come see the shows to experience the work and ideas in action and to support the “normalization” of the American Theatre (I’ve got some issues with using the word “diversity” — sue me). Those ticket links again are here for terrible things and here for House Rules.
First, two more great reviews!
“With a light hand on some heavy issues, Pamatmat digs into sex, sexuality, assimilation, and even abuse, seen through the eyes of two sets of siblings. Despite the serious subject matter, he makes these vibrant characters often a joy to watch.”
“Pamatmat avoids cute, neat categorization for these complex characters… Director Ralph B. Peña keeps the cross-cut action hopping… Katigbak ignites a warmth on stage that draws us all in.”
Review: House Rules at HERE Arts Center
(Exeunt Magazine, April 5, 2016)
“Pamatmat’s story is well told and there are many truths to be found. What makes his writing most effective is the fact that, like life, there is not a total resolve for his character’s conflicts. Sometimes, self-will and communication fails us. Fortunately, Pamatmat’s play does not.”
Reviews: House Rules & The Humans (Manhattan Digest, April 5, 2016)
Next up, the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) made an awesome Meet the Theatre video for Ma-Yi Theatre Company! Want to see me be super nervous and talk about Sam Chanse’s play with the dancing morel? Then, get a load of this:
Also, we have more promo videos for House Rules. Just FYI, I didn’t script these things. My cast is just this clever, and Rehana Lew Mirza’s editing is just that silly.
Finally, I was fortunate enough to chat with Arpita Mukherjee at Stagebuddy about House Rules and Asian-American Theatre at large. You can find that interview here.
House Rules runs until April 16th, and tickets are available here. Don’t miss it!
Okay, maybe not. But House Rules got pretty damn good reviews!!! Come see what all the fuss is about.
“People play a lot of games in A. Rey Pamatmat’s intriguing, untidy “House Rules,” produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company.”
“Mr. Pamatmat has compelling ideas about human psychology and dramatic structure… flashes of surprising truth, particularly in the sibling interactions.”
“[A] tour de force speech by the ever-engaging Ms. Katigbak… joins the several themes.”
Review: ‘House Rules’ And All Kinds of Games
(New York Times, April 1, 2016)
“[E]mpathetically directed by Ralph B. Pena at HERE… The playwright presents the characters in crisp three dimensions.”
“Every one of the players does commendably by the taut script…. Well done by all.”
A. Rey Pamatmat’s Two-Families Drama ‘House Rules’ (Huffington Post, April 4, 2016)
“Ralph B. Pena’s direction is sharp, swift and fun, and along with Reid Thompson’s set they have created a sprawling maze of rooms that allow for the rat-a-tat-tat rhythmic pacing from scene to scene that moves this play along. The cast is fierce and unstoppable.
A. Rey Pamatmat’s play is a web of love and conflict between cultures, and parents and children, that is never sentimental or schmaltzy, but funny and unapologetic.”
Review: House Rules (Front Row Center, April 1, 2016)
“Through an exploration of culture and generation, House Rules is an ensemble dramatic comedy with an exuberant amount of heart and truth…. [A] stellar ensemble… A. Rey Pamatmat and Ma-Yi Theater Company have something special on their hands.”
Review: Family Matters (Theater in the Now, April 2, 2016)
“The cast is uniformly good with Ms. Katigbak getting some of the best lines. Mr. Pamatmat’s script is witty, with fleshed out characters….There is a lot of truth in this play.”
House Rules Makes You Think (Times Square Chronicles, April 3, 2016)
“A clever play about forgiveness, House Rules is a smartly layered story…. a lovely reminder that the harshest parts of our lives can also be the richest – you’ll laugh, cry and even learn to appreciate the dysfunctional parts of your own family.”
Review: House Rules (The Reading Salon, March 29, 2016)
Audience response has been so generous as well. Thank you to everyone who’s spoken to me about your personal reactions to the play and about your own families. There’s nothing better than hearing people have made deeper connections with a play like this and have been able to laugh at grief, loss, and self-discovery.
Finally, some pictures by Lia Chang from our opening night can be see on Broadway World. Look at all those gorgeous mugs.
House Rules runs until April 16 and tickets are available here. Come one, come all!
Tonight is the opening night of Ma-Yi Theatre Company‘s world premiere of House Rules! We did some great tweaking and refining from preview to preview, and the cast has gotten more and more comfortable with each successive audience. In other words: WE ARE SO READY FOR YOU!!! I’m really excited to share the show with everyone. And, hey look: pictures!
It’s been fascinating getting reviews for one show while getting another one ready for the public. The experience has caused me to reflect generally on the reception of my plays. As I mentioned in that conversation with Sam Hunter, from the very beginning, writing House Rules has been about writing people of color (in this case Filipinos/Filipino-Americans) from an insider’s point of view. It’s not a play about displaying ethnicity for non-Filipinos/Filipino-Americans. Nor is it a play where race or ethnicity is presented as a problem. It’s a play that asks you to see the perspective of American people of color as the every person perspective.
Will people who are not Filipino/Filipino-American or even Asian/Asian-American step into those shoes? Because although the response to About Face Theatre‘s production of after all the terrible things I do has been overwhelmingly positive, when it hasn’t been I’ve been criticized for not portraying Linda (the Filipina character in the play) as an absolute other, for not showing her struggles as an immigrant against being an outsider, or for not showing how the color of her skin or her ethnicity makes her different from white Americans. I’m criticized for putting her at the center of her experiences as an immigrant and person of color rather than orienting her story around white America. This is similar to unquestionably biased critical reception of my other past plays, particularly Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.
House Rules is chock full of immigrants and children of immigrants whose struggles have nothing to do with whether white America accepts/oppresses them or not. Sure they fight about identity and ethnicity, but they also struggle with sibling rivalry, uncertain lovers, parental mortality, and adult independence. These are the issues that I’m concerned with but after the past few years of critical reception I can’t help but wonder: who out there will tell me that I’m once again putting incomplete or unrealistic or non-dramatic people of color onstage, because I’m not making the struggle against whiteness central to their dramas or identities?
Maybe people will finally get it. Maybe they’ll understand that I’m writing American plays for an audience of Americans — one that contains people of multiple genders, ethnic origins, ages, abilities, and sexualities. Maybe they’ll see House Rules the way they see Long Day’s Journey Into Night — as a family play — and they’ll resist pigeon-holing it as an immigrant play (which they “somehow” manage to never do with O’Neill despite his immigrant parentage).
Whether they do or not, come and see for yourself, because I plan to keep on writing plays that secure a primary place for people of color and queers within the American narrative no matter what they say. And because the care and professionalism on display thanks to Ma-Yi, this cast, and this creative team is worth more than the price of admission. We can’t wait to share it with you.
* * * * *
Or, The Wrong Dude
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?
With Tina Chilip, Jojo Gonzalez, Mia Katigbak, Jeffrey Omura, Conrad Schott, Tiffany Villarin, and James Yaegashi
Produced by Ma-Yi Theatre Company
HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue
March 25 – April 16, 2016
The good news keeps on rolling in. Two more great reviews of About Face Theatre‘s after all the terrible things I do came out this weekend.
REVIEW: after all the terrible things I do (Chicago Theater Beat, March 28, 2016)
Buzz-eriously! 3 reasons to see after all the terrible things I do from About Face Theatre (Buzz On Stage Chicago, March 29, 2016)
I am so thrilled by the show and that Chicago has welcomed it with open arms. I love that city so much, and I’m glad I could contribute something meaningful to their theatre scene. Don’t miss this chance to see the amazing, critically-acclaimed work of Andrew Volkoff, Colin Sphar, and Lisa Tejero. There are ten performances left!
You’ve seen the pictures from tech on social media (oh, you haven’t? Go here!), which means previews for Ma-Yi Theatre Company’s world premiere of House Rules is right around the corner. Like, literally right around the corner. Like, tomorrow.
I am so excited for this production team and these amazing actors who are having a great time bringing these characters to life. I’ll be posting more about the play as we approach opening night on March 31st, but for now I thought I’d just reshare this interview from The Lark’s workshop of the play where Sam Hunter asked me about House Rules’s origins.
And what’s a House Rules post without another video promo shot by the lovely Rehana Lew Mirza? Get a load of this ridculousness!
Join us for the show! You can get tickets here. And wish us breaking legs at our first preview tomorrow night!!!
Time Out Chicago reviewed About Face’s production of after all the terrible things I do half a day after I posted all those other ones, and they gave us 4 stars!
“[A] smart and keenly acted About Face Theatre production… after all the terrible things I do, like O’Hara’s “Poem,” is a quietly evocative consideration of forgiveness.”
— REVIEW: after all the terrible things I do (Time Out Chicago, March 23, 2016)
SERIOUSLY, EVERYBODY, GO BUY TICKETS NOW. Don’t do that thing where you try to go in the last week, and you can’t get in even if you pay full price. See it now, or at least get your tickets. There’s even a promotion for $20 matinee seats if you use the code AFT20 going that probably won’t last much longer considering all these amazing notices.
In terms of critically acclaimed productions, after all the terrible things I do is officially three for three. Congratulations to Andrew and everyone at About Face Theatre!
“Pamatmat… upends the pat notions we may have about the dynamics of homophobia and bullying…. Andrew Volkoff’s handsome production has much to recommend it, especially in the nuanced give-and-take between Sphar and Tejero, from good-natured teasing to spiky anger.”
—‘after all the terrible things I do’ lets words drive the action (Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2016)
“Andrew Volkoff’s staging for About Face Theatre offers dynamic performances by Colin Sphar as a young, gay writer with a big secret and Lisa Tejero as an aging bookseller with one of her own.”
— REVIEW: after all the terrible things I do (Chicago Reader, March 22, 2016)
“A lacerating drama by A. Rey Pamatmat… magnificently mined by Andrew Volkoff….”
— Chicago Theater Review: after all the terrible things I do (Stage and Cinema, March 19, 2016)
“I highly recommend this beautiful, engaging performance. If history tells us what happened, it is shows like this that tell us why.”
— REVIEW: About Face Theatre’s ‘after all the terrible things I do’ (Showbiz Chicago, March 19, 2016)
“Pamatmat’s writing deftly and eloquently explores people grappling with things they regret, but can’t put right… Andrew Volkoff’s production and his two outstanding actors tell a story that shows people at their ugliest and most vulnerable, and still treats them with great sensitivity… a highly rewarding drama.”
— REVIEW: after all the terrible things I do (Chicago Critic, March 21, 2016)
“…a highly polished and authentic two-hander brimming with humor, mystery and drama.”
— Strong work in AFT’s after all the terrible things I do (Third Coast Review, March 21, 2016)
“Highly recommended. About Face Theatre is on a roll.”
— REVIEW: after all the terrible things I do (Around the Town Chicago, March 18, 2016)
Don’t miss out! Get tickets here before About Face’s production of after all the terrible things I do closes on April 10th.