I am very grateful to have received such a nice testimonial from Naoko Nakagawa, an extremely talented New York-based operatic soprano. I worked with Naoko while she was preparing for the American Premiere of Cui's "Feast in the Time of Plague" at the Little Opera Theatre of New York. She strengthened her acting skills to integrate them into her singing technique, which brought her character all the more alive! Naoko has such a beautiful voice and commanding stage presence; check out one of her performances if you can! See samples of her work here. Thanks, Naoko!
Years ago, George DiCenzo, my acting teacher, was helping me prepare for an audition for a nationally-known Shakespeare festival. I was being read for Clarence in Richard III, and I had run into a creative wall. He helped me realize that I needed to put myself into Clarence's nightmare; not just see and recount it, but be in it. Experience it. One thing I'll never forget - one thing that helped free me to do a successful audition was his telling me that
"...Shakespeare didn't write characters; he wrote moments in life and gave them names."
I remember his words verbatim. (I didn't get the part, but I walked out of the audition feeling great about my preparation and honest work.)
Some people argue that Shakespeare is irrelevant because of the Elizabethan language. This argument is older than dirt, and of course I disagree with it.
I have to thank Sameerah Luqmann-Harris for posting a Washington Post article which proves this point:
Shakespeare wrote numerous plays dealing with war. "Feast of Crispian" a Milwaukee-based program named after Henry V, is a program that exists for veterans re-enact "conflict-heavy scenes" from Shakespeare's plays. The goal is to help them confront PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction, reintegration into society, and mental health problems.
Shakespeare's words go unchanged. Yet here are people who have been to some of the darkest places in life. The power of Shakespeare's text "elicits and holds emotion", according to Feast of Crispian's Project Director.
The article quotes veterans relating their experiences in having been opened up by being given Shakespeare's conflict scenes. The veterans are able to go to them. They are able to put themselves in the middle of what is happening in that scene, not just relate it and identify with words. This in turn, has given them the wherewithal to confront their demons head on.
These veterans in Milwaukee experienced such moments in life, and they have names. Shakespeare wrote such moments. Shakespeare is helping to heal veterans. They didn't worry about the words - they trusted what they knew was happening in the scene, and their experiences drove their command of it.
This Washington Post article is powerful. Please give it a read.
Asian-American Film Lab TV has begun pre-production on a narrative film, "The Opposite of a Fairy Tale". Written by Jennifer Betit-Yen, this screenplay looks at her late grandmother's victimization from elder abuse. The first read-through (by a Who's-Who cast from Broadway, Film, and Television) was very immediate and hard-hitting, and the film promises to be even more so. Following the read, the Q&A elicited so many stories from cast and audience. So much so, that we couldn't have anticipated the power that the audience felt.
New York City Performing Arts High School auditions are coming up in a few months! Contact me for coaching for your student who will be auditioning for the Drama Studios! http://bit.ly/1TW2v4W
I have been cast in readings for two screenplays (shorts) in development with the Asian-American Film Lab "The Opposite of a Fairy Tale" by Jennifer Betit-Yen, and "The Plains" by Alice Cox. I'm honored to be cast in these readings, and to be doing so with some major names in Broadway and both screens! The readings will be moderated by Erin Quill (Avenue Q (Broadway); numerous TV and film credits, Director and Producer).
Congratulations to my friend Theresa Navarro, Associate Producer, and the team at America ReFramed with host Natasha Del Toro, for their Emmy Nomination for "Fate of a Salesman", in the Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting - Long Form category! America ReFramed is multicast on WorldChannel.org.
Every so often... a small-scale, thoughtful movie like “Advantageous” comes along and summons up a speculative new world with brains, some frugal sleight of hand and cool confidence...
Limited Run at the Cinema Village, June 26 - July 2! Click here for showtimes and tix! See the trailer and sample the brilliant soundtrack by award-winning composer Timo Chen!
Written by Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim
Directed by Jennifer Phang
Advantageous dissects the Mother/Daughter bond and how a dystopian society can take its toll on it, parallels issues that women face today. It isn't just about how this film was done; it's about why it was done. What sacrifices are we willing to make for our loved ones? How can such a dystopian society painted in Advantageous condone and even succumb to such sacrifices having to be made by women? What are the different faces of love? All against the backdrop of stunning visual and aural effects.
However, Advantageous will not answer them for you. Part of its brilliance is that it stays with you after you exit the theatre or finishes streaming (through Netflix and iTunes).
Advantageous keeps you so enthralled that you will pick up from where it leaves off to contemplate the characters' journeys, conjecture them, and the film's timely themes of Sacrifice, Fairness, Self-Worth, and Love.
Please rate and review after see it, and spread the word!!
Thanks, love, and gratitude from all of us at Advantageous!
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