Jul 15

“Waiting for Kim Lee” Doesn’t Do Asian American Women Justice

Presented by Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston
Written by Vivian Liu Somers
Directed by Alison Qu

Virtual Staged Reading, July 8, 2020, 7PM
HowlRound Theatre Commons
AATAB on Facebook

Critique by Diana Lu

ZOOM/HOWLROUND — Let’s be clear: Waiting For Kim Lee is not a play; it’s a rant, forced into a dialogue. I hate it when people screech from the steps of a soapbox and call it art (David Mamet* comes to mind). I also hate the superficial media representation-discussion that seems to be the only thing Asian American artists ever talk about.

That was fine in 2016, but right now, we’re dying of COVID-19 at higher rates than the national average and getting hate-crimed for America’s pathetic epidemic response. We’re struggling to keep our businesses afloat, and protesting for our right to exist, and for Black lives. Complaining about parents and how many auditions you’re getting right now seem like outdated and out of touch problems.

It would be one thing if Waiting for Kim Lee had anything especially insightful or new to say about it, but this play just recycles the same few talking points that have already been rehashed by every Buzzfeed article for the last five years. Not only are they stale, but they are also narrow-minded and miss the point. Continue reading

Apr 05

An Interview with Playwright Felicia King on “White Pearl”

White Pearl
Written by By Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Nana Dakin

Royal Court Theatre
10 May — 15 June, 2019
Sloane Square
London SW1W 8AS
Directed by Priscilla Jackman

Sydney Theatre Company
24 October — 9 November, 2019
Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta
New South Wales, Australia
Directed by Desdemona Chiang

Studio Theatre
November 6 — December 15, 2019
Milton Theatre, 1501 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

Interview by Diana Lu

DL: Can you tell us about yourself, how you became a playwright, where you got the idea for your play White Pearl?

FK: I am half Thai, half Australian. I grew up between Thailand and Philippines and then moved to Australia when I was quite young. My whole life has been spent as a global citizen in the broader international community with lots of other ex-pats, lots of like immigrant kids. I’ve always been really interested in global culture, and in 2016 when I started writing this play, I saw that a bunch of ads for skin whitening companies, a lot of them Thai ads, were going viral on my news feed. Continue reading

Sep 30

The Restoration of Henry VIII


Presented in concert by Odyssey Opera
Composed by Camille Saint-Saëns
Libretto by Léonce Détroyat and Armand Silvestre
Gil Rose, conductor
Version prepared with assistance from Hugh Macdonald
Supertitles provided by Danielle Sinclair

September 21, 2019
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA 02115
Odyssey Opera on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) The year is 1521. Henry VIII (Michael Chioldi) rules England with unhinged fury. The chorus announces that Henry is about to behead the Duke of Buckingham, once a beloved best friend. It is a grave foreshadowing of Anne Boleyn’s infamous fate. The chorus pleads, “please, can someone save us from this mad tyrant?” Continue reading

Aug 13

“The Intersection” presented by Bodega

The Intersection presented by Bodega Commedy

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019
Doors at 7:30 p.m., Show at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $22
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
South End
Boston, MA 02116

Featuring the talents of Geeks Diana Lu and Shiyanbade Animashaun!

They’re back again! Mark your calendars for the return of The Intersection. Come to the South End on Saturday, September 7 for a night of comedy!

Come witness the baddest comedians, poets, sketch artists, and improvisers create community on stage while making you laugh! The Intersection is produced by creatives of color from across the Boston area.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Show at 8:00 pm.

#FUNinBOS

F.U.N. – Fierce Urgency of Now: Energizing Young Professionals of Color to Unlock Boston’s Promise

What is the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival?

A five-day series of events hosted by local businesses and organizations geared at highlighting the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for young professionals of color in our city with the ultimate goal of creating community. With more than 30 events scheduled, you can plan to learn, connect, and have fun all week long, while also lending your voice to change. Join us September 4-8 to help make Boston more inclusive for all.Why are we involved in F.U.N.?
With half of the workforce in Boston being classified as millennials, and nearly half of millennials in Greater Boston being people of color, we know that the business community must play a key role in improving the city’s image and increasing access and opportunities to attract and retain talent. Retention of young people of color is of critical importance to our future as a region.

F.U.N. is for you: young professionals and young professional of color looking to build community and gain allies.

Jun 25

The Emperor Has No Clothes: ‘Masquerade’ Was a Smug, Misogynistic Mess


Presented by Cherry Orchard Festival
Produced by Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia
Based on the ‘verse drama’ by Mikhail Lermontov
Directed by Rimas Tuminas
Set Design by Adomas Yatsovskis
Costumes by Maxim Obrezkov
English Subtitles by Ivan Samokhin

June 18—19, 2019
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
Boston, MA 02116
Cherry Orchard Festival on Facebook

Critique by Diana Lu

(Boston, Mass.) My program calls Masquerade a “verse drama.” That’s about the most pretentious thing I’ve ever seen. Even Shakespeare just wrote “plays.” Other reviewers keep comparing this 19thcentury Russian romantic play to Shakespeare’s Othello. I’m sure writer Mikhail Lermontov filched his basic plot points from The Bard, but the similarities end there. Continue reading

May 07

“Vietgone” Baby, “Vietgone”

Quentin Nguyen-duy and Rob Chen – Photo by Paul Fox.

Presented by Company One
In partnership with Pao Arts Center
Written Qui Nguyen
Directed by Michelle Aguillon

April 26 – May 25, 2019
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA
Company One on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) A hip hop musical play, Vietgone is Qui Nguyen’s new rom-com style re-telling of his parents’ love story. Though it’s presented as “a story about falling in love, not a story about war”, it very much is also a story about the Vietnam War, its devastating consequences, and the dignity and fortitude of its survivors. As a play, it’s well-written, at times hilarious, at times, heartbreaking. Continue reading

Apr 16

“Cardboard Piano”: Good Intentions, Poorly Executed

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures; L-R: Rachel Cognata and Marge Dunn.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Written by Hansol Jung
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

March 23 —April 14, 2019
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Critique by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) Cardboard Piano is a two-part sociopolitical drama. The first act portrays a young love affair between Chris, a missionary’s daughter (Marge Dunn), and Adiel (Rachel Cognata), a Ugandan teenager, and how it was torn apart by senseless homophobia and war violence. The second act sees the daughter return to Uganda 15 years later to find the man who killed her lover (Michael Ofori/Marc Pierre) reviving her father’s church and continuing to oppress his young, queer congregants. Continue reading

Mar 09

“When Angels Fall”: El Greco Would Be Proud

When Angels Fall – Photo Credit: Georges Ridel

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Direction and Choreography by Raphaëlle Boitel
Artistic Collaboration, Set and Light Design by Tristan Baudoin
Original Soundtrack and Sound Design by Arthur Bison
Costumes by Lilou Hérin
Rigging, Machinery and Set Design by Nicolas Lourdelle

February 20 – 24, 2019
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) When Angels Fall melds dance, aerial circus, slapstick humor, cinematic visual arts and more to weave a fantastical tale of fallen angels (or humans) trying to make sense of their harsh dystopian landscape and their places within (or without) it. As a synthesis of disparate disciplines, director and choreographer Raphaëlle Boitel has crafted a truly original new performance art, and this is a major artistic accomplishment in and of itself. 

Continue reading

Mar 05

Not That Kind of Review: Bedlam’s “Pygmalion”

The cast; Photo by Nile Scott Studios

Presented by Bedlam Theatre Company
Directed by Eric Tucker
Written by George Bernard Shaw

January 31, 2019 – March 3, 2019
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Cambridge, MA) Central Square Theatre hosts New York City’s Bedlam Theatre Company in their revamped version of Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw. This is the classic story of English phonetician Henry Higgins (Eric Tucker) discovering and training working class waif Eliza Doolittle (Vaishnavi Sharma) on the speech and manners of a proper English lady, to the ultimate folly of both. Bedlam’s new interpretation returns to Shaw’s original feminist conception of Eliza and Henry’s fraught relationship and also changes the Doolittle family to Indian immigrants, ostensibly to reflect modern day issues of gender, class, and immigration in the US. It was a very well done production, and I’m sure there will be many reviews which praise all its various technical merits. This review isn’t one of them. Continue reading

Feb 11

The Largesse of the Sea Maidens: A Conversation with “Endlings” Playwright Celine Song

Han Sol Dive Suit Costume Rendering by Linda Cho

A Conversation with “Endlings” Playwright Celine Song
Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Celine Song
Directed by Sammi Cannold

February 1 – March 17, 2019
ASL Interpreted performances: Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30PM and Sunday, March 17 at 2PM
Open Captioned performances: Thursday, March 14 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Audio Described performances: Friday, March 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
7till8 Wetsuits on Facebook

OpEd and interview by Diana Lu

They are sometimes called “Korean mermaids,” and sometimes “sea women,” or haenyeo. The female free divers of Jeju Island are the last keepers of a centuries-old tradition of ocean floor fishing, one that created a unique matrilineal craft and matriarchal economy. In the 1960s, there were more than 26,000 haenyeo. Today there are less than 4,500. Nearly all are over 50 years old, with few young women interested in replacing them. It is difficult, dangerous work, diving without oxygen, wearing lead weights for up to two minutes at a time. About nine haenyeo a year are lost to the sea. Continue reading