2021 New Works Festival
By Minh-Anh Day, Kathryn Zheng, and Tiger Zhou
The Asian American Theater Project
March 5-6 & 12-13, 2021
The Stanford Asian American Theater Project puts on their New Works Festival every year where student playwrights get to have their short plays performed in a series of staged readings. The goal of this festival is to decentralize mainstream narratives in favor of validating and evaluating the experiences of any person who wants to live in a world that is not defined by white, cisheterosexual, able-bodied patriarchy, etc. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had to move its 2021 production online.
In order to adjust to the online environment, the New Works Festival turned into a 7-week playwriting workshop where student playwrights would collaborate together to work on their individual pieces and develop scenes. Three visiting playwrights (Young Jean Lee, Kari Barclay, and Jeffrey Lo) came in as guest speakers to workshop the plays with the students as well. At the end of the process, the three short plays were performed over the course of two weekends in the form of Zoom staged readings.
I have always admired the Stanford Asian American Theater Project. Their mission is one of the things that attracted me to Stanford University in the first place. I regretfully did not work with them in 2019 due to other projects I was working on at the time, but I promised myself that I would commit to the organization during the 2020-2021 season, especially since I became a board member.
With my experience in other digital productions, I felt as if I was equipped to come into this new space and take the lead as the producer. This year's New Works Festival elevated the experimental platform of virtual theater to reimagine the space that we, as Asian American theatermakers, seek to create for our community. It is difficult to find Asian American-centric platforms where individuals can self-express freely through their art-making, so I'm very grateful to have encountered AATP and these wonderful playwrights, artists, actors, and directors.
Produced by Chloe Chow and Morgan Gwilym Tso
Artistic Direction by Junah Jang and Kyle Wang
Stage Manager Clara Luu
Assistant Stage Manager Ethan Wang
Singularity by Minh-Anh Day
The Worst Kept Secret in Washington by Kathryn Zheng
Untitled Play by Tiger Zhou
Anton de Leon