Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Audience Falls for ‘Falling Leaves’

Author Adeline Yen Mah signs copies of her memoir, Falling Leaves, Tuesday night at South Coast Repertory

Yen Mah has turned her memoir into a play, which had its first staged reading at SCR Tuesday as part of the Ancient Paths, Modern Voices festival presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Mah, a retired anesthesiologist who lives in Huntington Beach, first published the story of her unhappy childhood in a wealthy, backstabbing Chinese family in 1998. It sold more than a million copies. The staged reading – which was sold out – starred Jeanne Sakata as Adeline and Dom Magwili, Donald Li, Emily Kuroda and Alberto Isaac as her untrustworthy siblings. Oanh Nguyen directed. Also on hand was a film crew from Voice of America, which will broadcast a story about Adeline and her play in countries across Asia.

Friday, November 13, 2009

South Coast Repertory Adds "The Language Archive" to the 2009-10 Season

Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, (pictured above during the 2009 Pacific Playwrights Festival) is the story of a brilliant linguist who finds himself at a loss for words when he learns his wife is leaving him, will fill the final slot in South Coast Repertory’s 2009-10 season.

The world premiere, which runs March 26 through April 25, 2010, on the Segerstrom Stage, was commissioned by New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company and is being produced by special arrangement with the company. Mark Brokaw, a Roundabout Associate Artist, will direct.

“I think Mark is one of the leading directors in American theatre today,” said SCR Producing Artistic Director David Emmes. “And we have a long relationship with Julia Cho. It’s been really exciting to see her deepening her talent.”

Emmes said he knew he wanted to produce The Language Archive at SCR immediately after its reading at the Pacific Playwrights Festival last spring: “The play possesses a wonderful charm and displays a tremendous theatrical imagination.”

The Language Archive tells the story of George, a man consumed with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures. Closer to home, though, language is failing him. He doesn’t know what to say to his wife, Mary, to keep her from leaving him, and he is oblivious to the deep feelings his lab assistant, Emma, has for him.

This is Cho’s second SCR production; her first was the 2007 world premiere of The Piano Teacher, about the lasting effects of childhood trauma and human beings’ great capacity for denial. Brokaw just directed After Miss Julie, currently playing on Broadway with Sienna Miller. He has extensive on- and Off-Broadway credits, but this will mark his SCR directorial debut.