Two Readings This Weekend at EWP

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East West Players’ Counter-Culture series is a new series of community conversations and readings that explore themes that vary from immigration, homelessness, gun control, to how to create art in these challenging political times.

“This series of community conversations and presentations of new works allow for a deeper dialogue about the big issues affecting us today,” says EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “We want to present pieces that are timely, relevant, and explore new modes of storytelling and theatrical presentation in order to challenge mainstream narratives — and, in line with our new ‘Culture Shock’ season — disrupt the status quo.”

Two events are planned this weekend at EWP’s David Henry Hwang Theater at Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St. (between First and Temple) in Little Tokyo.

• Saturday, Aug. 25, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.: SCOTUS Theater is proud to present their first Los Angeles reading, produced in partnership with EWP: “Jennings v. Rodriguez,” a 2017 Supreme Court case that challenged the prolonged detention of migrants.

Directed by Becca Wolff, the reading will be performed by lawyers and professional actors. The reading will be followed by an expert panel featuring Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU of Southern California, who argued Jennings v. Rodriguez on behalf of the respondents. The panel will delve into issues raised by the case: our moral and legal obligations to migrants in detention, and the current legal and political landscape.

SCOTUS Theater is a Bay Area-based organization that brings together communities of artists, activists, and concerned individuals to hear and consider Supreme Court cases.

Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will go to the ACLU of Southern California. Buy tickets: https://eastwestplayers.secure.force.com/ticket. More info: www.eastwestplayers.org or http://scotustheater.com.

• Sunday, Aug. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m.: FEME (First Syllable Female) Readings features readings of new works written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (“The New Planet”), Jeanne Sakata (new one-person play based on Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga), Alice Tuan (“SPIN, STIR”), Kristina Wong (“Kristina Wong for Public Office”), and Erin La Rosa (a full-length reading of “Sinkhole”), members of EWP’s inaugural playwrights group, which was directed by Tuan and features all female playwrights.

Sakata, who wrote “Hold These Truths,” a one-man show about Gordon Hirabayashi that premiered at EWP and has been performed across the country, is now paying tribute to Herzig Yoshinaga, a key figure in the Japanese American redress movement who recently passed away.

Excerpts by Cowhig, Sakata, Tuan and Wong at 5 p.m.; break at 6:45 p.m.; reading by La Rosa at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic work and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific Islander experiences. Founded in 1965, at a time when APIs faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape, EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

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