Tug of War: Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Filipino Indepenence Day

Saturday, May 23, 2015 8:00 pm to Sunday, June 14, 2015 3:00 pm

CIRCA Pintig is proud to celebrate Asian American Heritage Month and Filipino Independence Day by presenting Tug of War, a quartet of short theatrical works on the Iraq War, work and immigration written by Asian Americans. Tug of War will run on Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. until June 14, located at the Moooh Dulce Studio, 2602 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60647.

Directed by Aaron Mays, Tug of War is a collection of dramatic snapshots, both real and fictional, of soldiers, veterans and civilians who are grappling with the trauma from armed conflict and immigration. The production is comprised of four short works: The Soldier’s Home, Wayne, The Story of Raza and Caregiver.

The Chicago premiere of The Soldier’s Home by Rohan Zhou-Lee is a one-act play about a spouse’s return from service in Iraq. After surviving a roadside bomb and losing very close friends, the couple must redefine their relationship and rebuild their marriage. This piece illustrates the couple’s experiences through poetic monologues and choreography.

Wayne, another Chicago premiere, depicts a Filipino-American soldier who speaks of raids and atrocities committed while serving abroad. The monologue, written by Giovanni Ortega, is based on interview transcripts from a real war veteran.

The Story of Raza by Zaineb Abdulla depicts the journey of an Iraqi expatriate who moves to theUnited States. This monologue is also based on interview transcripts from a real refugee.

In addition to these three short works, CIRCA Pintig will re-mount Caregiver which explores the Filipino Diaspora. The monologue, written by Lorely Trinidad-Ontal, follows an anonymous Filipino caregiver who struggles not only to support herself, but also her family in the homeland and her client Mr. King.

The cast of Tug of War includes Alice da Cunha, Brian Kung, Robert (Bobby) Manzano, Annamarie Tabo and Loreen Targos. The set is designed by Jose Aggari.

This production marks CIRCA Pintig’s 24th season. Earlier productions included America is in the Heart, Dreamweavers, Scent of Home: Bienvenido Santos Trilogy, APAT: A Quartet of Short Acts, The Bells of Balangiga and Alamat (Legends).

Tickets are available for $15 at the door with $12 tickets for advanced reservation and $10 tickets for students, seniors and industry professionals. Tickets may be purchased at www.circapintig.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1556824.

About the Director:

Aaron Mays is a writer, director, actor and teaching artist in Chicago. Most recently, he directed a staged reading of Idris Goodwin’s play How We Got On as a part of Urban Theater’s 2014 R.A.W. Series. He has worked with Chicago’s top directors, serving as the assistant director for such productions as Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre), Waiting for Godot (Court Theatre), Seven Guitars (Court Theatre) and Kristoffer Diaz’s Peace/War (American Blues Theater’s Ripped Festival). In 2013, Aaron devised a stage play titled The Watchers with high school students for American Theater Company’s Bridge program. His latest play Sticks and Stones was a semi-finalist for Stage Left Theatre’s 2012-2013 Downstage Left Playwright Residency. Aaron is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.

About the Playwrights:

Zaineb Abdulla (The Story of Raza) is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Project Coordinator for the Student Enrichment Program in Chicago. Her projects have engaged the Chicago community at large through interviews and performance. She is also a spoken word artist and performs frequently throughout the city.

Since 2004, Giovanni Ortega (Wayne) has enjoyed career in acting, directing, production, choreography and education. He is credited for writing Allos, a play detailing the life of Filipino American activist, poet and icon Carlos Bulosan. He has appeared in Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima, spoken and performed at more than 300 universities and prisons throughout North America, and more. Choreography credits include Blood Wedding,  Cinnamon Girl, and Girl Most Likely To. Recently, Ortega directed a workshops for Upstage Bern Theatre in Switzerland and East West Players presented a staged reading of his new play Crier for Hire.

Lorely Trinidad-Ontal (Caregiver) has been in the Philippines teaching community based theatre workshops and directing performances for Museo Pambata, University of Bohol and International Deaf Education Association, and was Technical Director for the NCCA’s touring production of Dalit Ng Virtuso. A Core Artist for the recent TeAdaWorks Festival at Highways Performance Space, she performed I HEART FOBS, a solo piece about illegal immigration. She currently co-leads the Theatre for Social Justice Teaching Artist Residency for Fringe Benefits, an educational theatre company. Most recently, Lorely was Assistant Director and Property Master for the LA Premiere of Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters.

Rohan Zhou-Lee (The Soldier’s Home,) is a recent alumni of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Ethnomusicolgy. Currently studying ballet at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Zhou-Lee writes fantasy and straight plays. Credits include: The Cavalier (Le Ballet Petit, The Nutcracker,) The Prince (Le Ballet Petit, Cinderella,) Anansi (CIRCA Pintig, Around The World In Eight Folktales,) and Malakas (Malakas at Maganda.)