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My Humana Festival College Days Keynote Speech

2 Apr

Last week on Saturday, March 24, 2018, I addressed the College Days attendees at the first full weekend of the 42nd Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. The wonderful folks at Actors Theatre of Louisville asked me to talk to them about transitioning from training to the professional world, and this is what I came up with.

Loving What You Hate When It Hates You, Too: Join playwright and Humana Festival alumnus A. Rey Pamatmat for a queer artist of color’s totally serious, life-or-death tips on how to survive in a world that hates and fears you—without having to be part of The X-Men. #liveyourtruth #soultherapy #Speedsicle4life

To say I had fun that weekend would be an understatement. The ATL folks were as welcoming and kind as they’ve always been, and the students, educators, artists, and other folks who attended were so generous with their attention.

Thank you to everyone and hugs all around. For those who couldn’t be with us, video of the speech is available above or at YouTube here.

Another Beautiful Day

15 Nov

Come one, come all! My play Beautiful Day is returning in an all new form for Ma-Yi’s Fall LabFest this Thursday, 11/17 @ 7pm.

As mentioned when Picture 24 was in last year’s Winter LabFest, I’ve been at work on a three-play cycle now called Safe, three queer plays. Beautiful Day is Play 2 in that cycle. The cycle in full is about remaining human in a world that dehumanizes you. The plays follow the personal relationships of Joey (the queer, Filipino-American photographer introduced in Picture 24) over the course of 15 years — a time in which perceptions of LGBT Americans shifted drastically from deviance to conditional acceptance.

I’m reuniting with Pat Diamond (director of the world premieres of Thunder Above, Deeps Below and A Spare Me) for this one, so it will be a family affair!

* * * * *

Image by Angi Parks

Image by Angi Parks

Beautiful Day

by A. Rey Pamatmat
directed by Pat Diamond

In 2007, Joey, Felicia, Kat, and Matthew reunite for a wedding in their small hometown of Port Huron, Michigan where a constitutional amendment was passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Haunted by their past lives, they navigate the present traditions of marriage in the five nights preceding one beautiful day.

With Helen Cespedes, Cleo Gray, Mark Junek, Jacob KnollJeffrey Omura, and Maria Peyramaure

Ma-Yi Writers Lab’s Fall LabFest
Ma-Yi Studio, 260 West 35th Street, Room 203
Thursday, November 11 @ 7:00 pm

Tickets are free but reservations are recommended. Click here to RSVP.

Thunder at The Yale Cabaret!

2 Nov

cabI typically don’t post productions of my plays with which I’m not directly involved, but there’s something happening at my alma mater that is too exciting not to mention.

My play Thunder Above, Deeps Below is being performed at The Yale Cabaret this weekend, November 3 – 5, with a trans woman in the part of Gil for the first time in it’s history! Bianca Castro (who you may know as Jiggly Caliente from RuPaul’s Drag Race) is joining current Yale School of Drama students Patricia Fa’asua, Jason Land, Francesca Fernandez MacKenzie, Ricardo Perez, and James Udom under Sebastian Arboleda’s direction.

I’ll be in New Haven for the Saturday early show at 8:00pm and will hang out afterward to chat. Show info and tickets for all performances are available here.

Come join us!


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.

* * * * *

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.

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!

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