Coming to America:
Boat Person, Foundations & Antecedents
July 27-30, 2017; Thursday 6:30pm, Friday & Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 2:30pm
News Release- TEA
Theatre Esprit Asia’s production of ‘Coming to America’ lands at Bas Bleu July 27-30
Community conversation on immigration Thursday night
To honor all immigrants – from the 17th century to now – Bas Bleu Theatre proudly presents Theatre Esprit Asia’s production of “Coming to America” comprised of three poignant one-act plays on immigration to the United States from Vietnam, Iran and China. It will be on Bas Bleu’s Tom Sutherland Stage from July 27-30 for four performances only.
TEA’s “Coming to America” won the 2016 Colorado Theatre Festival’s Best Production, Best Actress, Best Lighting, Excellence in Set Design and People’s Choice Awards.
“Boat Person” is told by the son of a couple who survived the fall of Saigon and the perils of the high seas as they found their way to the U.S. “Foundations” recounts a female architect’s tale about her family’s struggles after the fall of the Shah of Iran and her subsequent escape from Islam fundamentalism. “Antecedents” is written from the perspective of a rebellious daughter about her Chinese parents’ traumatic suffering under the Japanese occupation – and later under Communist rule – before finding safe haven in America.
Each of these three stories offers insights on what price must be paid to pursue the American Dream. Director Maria Cheng said “I feel so proud and privileged to have been part of the creative process of these three powerful narratives that are “Coming to America.”
She explains that “Antecedents,” her contribution to the “Coming to America” trilogy, “made me understand more deeply how my values and world perspective were essentially shaped during those seminal childhood years, by those whom I looked to for care and love.”
“When TEA decided to create a new work of stories about coming to America, we wanted to be sure to include a Middle East perspective,” says Jon Vogel, playwright of “Foundations.” He chose to write about Nilou Vakil, an architect whose story he found so compelling that he knew it had to be shared. Vogel said that Vakil graciously allowed him to turn her story into the dramatic monologue that is “Foundations.”
Peter Trinh had long been waiting to write “Boat Person” which is an account of his parents’ immigration to the U.S. from Vietnam. “Whether your family came to America by boat, plane, or foot, the story remains the same,” Trinh explains. “The promise of freedom and the right to decide our own lives drives people like my parents to overcome war and suffering, for their own sake and their childrens. This is not just a Vietnamese story,” Trinh said. “It is an American one,” which he tells to honor his parents, and to express gratitude for their sacrifices.
Bas Bleu founder and artistic director Wendy Ishii is excited to have the honor of introducing TEA’s important work to Northern Colorado. “Theatre holds up the mirror to society, and allows us to reflect on some of these important issues surrounding immigration,” said Ishii.
As Lin Manuel Miranda says, “Many of us are immigrants or descended from immigrants. These are people who came to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Immigration is at the center of Hamilton and at the heart of this great country.”
Community conversation on immigration
Theatre Esprit Asia will host a community conversation “talkback” on immigration immediately after its 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 performance. Participants include director/actor/playwright Maria Cheng, actor/playwright Peter Trinh and actor Iliana Barron. This is appropriate for families of all ages.
Tickets are available from basbleu.org or 970.498.8949 and cost $26 for adults, $20 for seniors, $18 Thursday tickets, $13 for students, $16 for U.S. military/fire/police and $10 for children under 13.
Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) is the Southwest’s first and only Asian-American theatre company. Based in Aurora and founded in 2012 by Maria Cheng and Tria Xiong, TEA is committed to creating social change for a more just and empathetic world through powerful and dramatic exploration of issues of the contemporary human condition. www.teatheatre.org
From the Director Maria Cheng
I feel so proud and privileged to have been part of the creative process of these powerful narratives that is Coming to America. What an incredibly dedicated cast and crew! Thank-you Jon and Peter for the moving stories and for being so trusting with my editor’s suggestions. Thank-you Iliana and Peter for your riveting portrayals of these remarkable characters. Brian, your lighting is utterly beautiful and your dramaturgy, as this play has metamorphosed through so many stages, have been invaluably insightful! What an extraordinary journey this has been! And to Wendy and the staff at Bas Bleu, thank-you for your hospitality and for inviting TEA to share these stories with your audience.
From the Playwrights
Maria Cheng: In Antecedents, the football and bound feet stories are from a previous work, Spirit & Sworded Treks. The rest is new. The writing of this work made me understand more deeply how my values and world perspective were essentially shaped in China during those seminal childhood years, by those whom I looked to for care and love. How grateful I am and how I miss my forbearers, who have long passed. Yet their presence and what they taught me remain with me still, alive and thriving. They gave up so much so my brothers and I could have a better life, even as theirs became more difficult.
Peter Trinh: Boat Person is an account of my parents’ immigration to the United States. I grew up hearing bits and pieces of it, being raised with great regard and awareness of the sacrifices my parents endured. Whether your family came to America by boat, plane, or foot, the story remains the same. The promise of freedom and the right to decide our own lives drive people like my parents to overcome war and suffering, for the sake of themselves and their children. This is not just a Vietnamese story. It is an American one. I tell this story to honor my parents, and to express my gratitude for their sacrifices.
Jon Vogels: When TEA decided to create a new work of stories of Coming to America, we wanted to be sure to include a Middle East perspective. My friend Betsey Coleman, who has traveled extensively there, referred me to Nilou Vakil, an architect whose story I found so compelling that I knew it had to be shared. She graciously allowed me to turn her story into the dramatic monologue that is Foundations. Many thanks, Nilou for sharing your story of war and re-building, Betsey for your ongoing support and encouragement, and Charles Coleman, Heidi Chesley, Vera Wayne and Maria Cheng for your ideas and suggestions. I am thrilled that this play has made its way to Fort Collins, specifically to Bas Bleu, which has a long commitment to regional theatre.
Weekdays from 12:30 to 5:30p
In the Gallery Bleu
June – August 2017
Cuba Italy Thailand
Explore Cuba, Italy and Thailand with stunning photographs by Aubrey Stalnaker and Richard Mauro Ricchiuti.
This exhibit takes you around the world, offering small glimpses of incredible sights from abroad. Start in Cuba, where Richard explores the culture and vibrancy of Cuba. Next, Aubrey takes you through Italy and Thailand, giving you a glimpse of these countries beautiful landscapes, sunsets and rustic charm!
Get your travel pack ready and join us in Gallery Bleu for Cuba Italy Thailand.
First Friday receptions: 5-7pm June 2nd and August 4th
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF FORT COLLINS THEATER
Bas Bleu is a theatre company located just north of historic Old Town in Fort Collins that has been providing the community with exhilarating theatre in an intimate venue for 25 years.They offer five mainstage shows, five Readers’ Theatre plays, original art showings in the Gallery Bleu, and many special events throughout the year. Experience some of the best dramatic performances, improv comedy, concerts, readings, and more on the Tom Sutherland Stage in an intimate setting that almost puts you on stage with the performers.
Watch some of the best local theatre talent perform in front of an audience of only 100 people in the historic Giddings building in the burgeoning River District of Fort Collins. Come by for exhibitions by local visual artists in the Gallery Bleu for another artistic treat. Sponsored by numerous local organizations listed below, Bas Bleu is a bastion of theatrical brilliance in the heart of Fort Collins.
Eva Wright and Wendy Ishii founded Bas Bleu Theatre in 1992 at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center. From the start, they have put on some of the most innovative and adventurous theatre works in Northern Colorado. Since then, Bas Bleu has become an artistic and cultural center providing everyone in Fort Collins who loves theatre, music, and art with a place to experience it in a state-of-the-art small theatre and attached lobby.
Come by and experience what it means to be a part of this rich and growing scene of Fort Collins.