I Am Bad at This, Part 2 of 2

24 Oct

Next, Actors Theatre of Louisville fun times and more!

First, tonight and tomorrow a play I wrote for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s New Play Project will be performed by their Professional Training Company. It’s a quirky, site specific piece called Gratuitous Nudity and the Undisclosed Costs of Questioning Surveillance Rather Than Bad Broccoli and you can get tickets to the four performances here. It’s a little bit about broccoli, a whole lot about surveillance, and the the apprentice actors and director Sammy Zeisel are doing some excellent work. Come see them shine!

I also have a reading coming up on November 17th as part of Ma-Yi’s Fall LabFest. Details are still being worked out for that, but I promise I’ll keep you posted this time.

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Gratuitous Nudity... Bad Broccoli

Gratuitous Nudity and the Undisclosed Costs of Questioning Surveillance Rather Than Bad Broccoli

by A. Rey Pamatmat
directed by Sammy Zeisel

A group of people who have done nothing wrong are being watched like they’ve done everything wrong. They grapple with government surveillance, its benefits and compromises, and the clever ways you can use metadata to find out things about your friends, family, mortal enemies, strangers, and assassination targets.

with Jenn Geiger, Kevin Kantor, Sam Kotansky, Anna Lentz, Kathiamarice Lopez, and Laakan McHardy

Presented by The Actors Theatre of Louisville

The Louisville Nature Center
3745 Illinois Avenue
Louisville, KY
Monday, October 24th @ 7pm and 9pm
Tuesday, October 25th @ 2pm and 4pm

The performances are FREE but ticketed and open to the public. Please call the Box Office at (502) 584-1205 for more information.

I Am Bad at This, Part 1 of 2

21 Oct

I have not kept up with keeping you up, and I’m sorry. Here’s post one of two. First, Video FunFest!

Recently, I was honored to be part of Samuel French’s #IdentityWeek. Lydia Diamond, Damon Chua, Kimber Lee, and I all spoke a panel moderated by Pippin Parker entitled “Playwrights and Identity.” It seemed at first like such a daunting thing to talk about, and we all started out a bit tentative. Once we relaxed, though, we were all able to share experiences from the field and ideas about the future progress of theatre that I hope are useful to other artists.

I also went up with a bunch of other Ma-Yi Writers Lab folks to support Labbie Co-Director Mike Lew as he previews and opens Tiger-Style! at the Huntington. The Labbies did a post-show panel where you can hear us talk about what we’re writing, why the Lab kicks ass, why Tiger-Style! kicks ass, and how to survive in the theatre. The video is archived here:

Conversation About Mike Lew’s Tiger-Style! with Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members

Finally, support a Fair Wage Onstage! A crew of Actors Equity members are campaigning for a living wage Off-Broadway. I recorded the following ally video to lend a perspective from the rehearsal rooms of artists of color. Help keep theatre artists in the theatre and level the playing field for talented performers of all classes, genders, races, and ethnicities.

What’s Next and Who’s Next

20 Jun

TASS16Summer Shorts 2016 is upon us! And my one-act play This is How It Ends will be part of Series A when it starts previews on July 22, 2016 at 59E59. I’m thrilled to be working on this bit of madness with Ed Iskandar in our first chance to collaborate since The Mysteries oh, so long ago. Some of you will recall that I wrote for Actors Theatre of Louisville anthology The End back in 2011. I basically took those scenes and turned them into a complete play, which will be premiering at Summer Shorts.

PrideYou can get tickets here and find further information about the full evening in these announcements from Broadway World and Playbill.

Speaking of Playbill, have you been to a Broadway show this month? There’s an interview with me in the Pride Edition of Playbill on page 13. I’m so excited and honored to be among all of these amazing LGBTQA artists and to be featured in this way, because, I mean, I’m a big ol’ queer!!! There’s a longer version of the profile online as well:

Who’s Next: A. Rey Pamatmat, Playwright (Playbill, June 12, 2016)

And speaking of queers, Picture 24, Part 1 of my big queer cycle, was an O’Neill finalist. Check it out here. And very soon I’ll have some news about Part 3…

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and that you can join me for some of mine.

A Summer Shotgun Workshop

9 May

Before I run away for the summer, I’ve got one more piece to share with you. My murder mystery The Shotgun Message will have workshop presentations this week as part of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts‘s Main Stage Live series. Director Adam Fitzgerald and I have been spending the last three weeks rehearsing with Academy students and alumni, and we’ll be showing a semi-staged version of the play to give just a hint of what the play could be fully produced.

Come join us May 11 – 14 @ 7pm and help us continue to develop this new piece! For those who’ve seen earlier incarnations, I’ve added a new scene near the end of the play and cleaned up all the rest. We’ll also have sketches of the play’s projections and video for the first time. Presentations are free, and you can reserve seats here (just scroll down near the bottom of the page).

And thanks again for everyone’s support for after all the terrible things I do and House Rules. Both productions were an absolute delight and — thanks to you all — a success.

More soon…

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portrait_companyThe Shotgun Message

by A. Rey Pamatmat
directed by Adam Fitzgerald

Journalist Kent MacDonald is no saint and certainly no savior. At least he never meant to be until 17-year-old Jared — the primary source of his article on teenage camwhores — winds up missing after turning in his pedophile clients to the FBI. In a lurid world of online sex, naïve parents, and kids who know too much, it’s up to Kent to find Jared, bring him home, and save both their souls in the process.

with Hugh BullerConnor DelvesMarie Dinolan, Alexander HodgeEmmy Tanzy, and Melody Vargas

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts , Mary MacArthur Theatre
120 Madison Avenue
Wednesday, May 11th – Saturday, May 14th @ 7:00 p.m.

Click here for reservations.

House Rules on ABS-CBN New York!

14 Apr

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 have nothing to say about this except thank you ABS-CBN, and here’s that link for tickets all over again. Only four shows left. Ma-Yi‘s production at HERE Arts Center must close Saturday, 4/16!

Final Week of House Rules

12 Apr

HOUSERULES_artby_NoahScalin-404x270I 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!!!

HOUSE RULES Trailer from Ma-Yi Theater Company on Vimeo.

Get tickets here before they’re all gone!

People Not Plot Points

9 Apr

Lisa Tejero as Linda and Colin Sphar as Daniel.

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.

You have three chances left to see after all the terrible things I do and nine chances left to catch House Rules. Don’t miss them! Get tickets here and here.

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)

House Rules

Tina Chilip as Twee, Jeffrey Omura as JJ, James Yaegashi as Rod, and Tiffany Villarin as Momo

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.


Lisa Tejero as Linda and Colin Sphar as Daniel.

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.


6 Apr
House Rules

Mia Katigbak as Vera

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:

Ma-Yi Theater Company — a Meet the Theatre film from Theatre Development Fund (tdf) on Vimeo.

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.

HOUSE RULES – Mahjong vs Monopoly from Ma-Yi Theater Company on Vimeo.

HOUSE RULES – Rod and Henry from Ma-Yi Theater Company on Vimeo.

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!

The House Always Wins

4 Apr

Okay, maybe not. But House Rules got pretty damn good reviews!!! Come see what all the fuss is about.

The House Rules Company on Reid Thompson's set! Ralph Peña, seated in the foreground. James Yaegashi, Tina Chilip, Jojo Gonzalez, Mia Katigbak, A. Rey Pamatmat, Tiffany Villarin, Jeffrey Omura, and Conrad Schott. Photo by Lia Chang.

The House Rules Company on Reid Thompson’s set! Ralph Peña, seated in the foreground. James Yaegashi, Tina Chilip, Jojo Gonzalez, Mia Katigbak, A. Rey Pamatmat, Tiffany Villarin, Jeffrey Omura, and Conrad Schott. Photo by Lia Chang.

“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)

Mia Katigbak as Vera

Mia Katigbak as Vera

“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)

Jeffrey Omura as JJ and James Yaegashi as Rod

Jeffrey Omura as JJ and James Yaegashi as Rod

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!

Making Up the Rules

31 Mar

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!

House Rules

James Yaegashi as Rod, Tina Chilip as Twee, Jeffrey Omura as JJ, Tiffany Villarin as Momo, and Mia Katigbak as Vera

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

Jojo Gonzalez as Ernie and Conrad Schott as Henry

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).

House Rules

Tiffany Villarin as Momo and Tina Chilip as Twee

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.

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HR Poster

House Rules

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 ChilipJojo Gonzalez, Mia Katigbak, Jeffrey Omura, Conrad SchottTiffany Villarin, and James Yaegashi

Produced by Ma-Yi Theatre Company
HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Avenue
March 25 – April 16, 2016

Click Here for Tickets

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