In honor of Filipino American History Month this October 2012, Leviathan Lab has created MIGRATION NATION, a site-specific multimedia theatrical experience that sheds light on the many stories of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), thousands of whom leave the poverty-stricken Philippines every day in search of jobs abroad in order to provide for their families. More than just a theatrical event, we hope to shed light on the many hardships and injustices these workers face all over the world.
As a co-director of Leviathan Lab’s Asian American Women Writers Workshop, I’ve spent the last few months helping to put this project together. The members of our writers group have written nine short pieces that range from thought-provoking to heartbreaking to hilarious, and we’ve assembled an excellent company of actors to populate our Migration Nation. It’s in the same vein as Sleep No More, so the audience will have the opportunity to roam through the space and witness the various pieces being performed. It’s an ambitious and challenging project, and I’m very proud and honored to be a part of it. It should be both an eye-opening and entertaining night of theater!
My short play, Balikbayan Birthday, centers around two young children whose parents are OFWs. It features two fantastic actors, Leanne Cabrera and Claro de los Reyes, and is directed by the fabulous Jo Cattell.
October 26, 7pm & 9pm
October 27, 7pm & 9pm
Space on White
81 White Street, NYC
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Creative and performing arts studio Leviathan Lab’s second season continues with its newest project, “Migration Nation: Imported and Exploited,” an experimental theatrical work at Space on White (81 White Street between Broadway and Lafayette) on Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27.
“Migration Nation” features nine new plays, which explore the experiences of immigrant Filipinos who have taken jobs as overseas workers (OFWs) worldwide, written by Leviathan Lab’s women playwrights. These OFWs, the majority of them women, constitute the Philippines’ largest export, totaling 11% of the Philippine economy; these women, without the benefit of citizenship or workers’ rights, suffer a huge number of human rights abuses, including rape, torture, and death. “Migration Nation” seeks to explore the experiences of these workers in a new context by creating a theater experience like no other.
“’Migration Nation’ is an attempt to theatrically recreate the experience of OFWs,” said Leviathan Lab Artistic Director Nelson T. Eusebio III. “We feel that by bringing the audience into this experience — an entire house of their stories, reflecting the diasporatic experience of OFWs — will enable us to engage, enlighten, and entertain our audiences. The goal of the event is to merge the political theatrical aspirations of Brecht with the voyeuristic and inclusionary experience of ‘Sleep No More’.”
“We are thrilled to be able to perform and be part of the Filipino-American History Month. These stories not only mean a tremendous amount to our community, but are stories of humanity and our rights as human beings. We hope that ‘Migration Nation’ will help bring focus to a largely underserved and overlooked community,” said Leviathan Lab Executive Director and Founder Ariel Estrada.
The playwrights of “Migration Nation” include Nancy Eng, Christine Toy Johnson, Dorim Lee, Karen Lee, Marisa Marquez, May Nazareno, Kristine M. Reyes, Eileen Rivera, and Nandita Shenoy. The cast includes Maria Alegre, Leanne Cabrera, Kitty Chen, Patricia Cancio, Claro de los Reyes, Karen Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Jake Myers, Mizuo Peck, Diane Phelan, John Roque, Krystal Seli, Kurt Uy and Yan Xi.
The plays are directed by Tea Alagic, Jo Cattell, Elyzabeth Gorman, Larissa Lury and Kira Onodera.
“Migration Nation” is made possible by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Community partners for this project are FAHNS, NAFAA, and UniPro.