Fil-Am’s ‘Hide and Hide’ play inspired by immigrant mom
Los Angeles — Black Filipino-American playwright Roger Q. Mason’s “Hide and Hide” will have a staged reading at this year’s Live Arts Exchange (LAX) Festival on Oct. 20.
The play is set in the Golden Coast of California during the last days of disco. Constanza, a Filipina immigrant whose visa is about to expire, enters into a sham marriage with Billy, a queer rent boy who is on the run from Texas police.
Filipino Americans involved in the production include Amielynn Abellera performing as Constanza. Jay Carlon is movement dramaturge, and Gaven Trinidad is script dramaturge.
“Hide and Hide” is a tribute
Mason says “Hide and Hide” is a tribute to “my mother Ederlinda and the American dreams she held when she came to the United States from the Philippines in 1980.”
“How did reality hold up to the promise the States exported to her and others like her abroad? And how does the pursuit of that dream change people as they grasp to attain it?”
“While her own personal story was a lot more tame that the one depicted in the play, she had heard tales of women who sought the marital alliance of men to gain green cards. That was the seed for the play.”
Mason wrote the play over one year as a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group. “I would bring the piece to our sessions in installments, almost like suspenseful chapters of a 1930s film noir… like a mysterious narrative that unfolded almost through stream-of-consciousness.”
An electrifying play
The play is directed by Jessica Hanna (“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”) and will be presented at the LA Dance Project. The performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
The LAX Festival, Vol. 10, takes place until November. It features electrifying new work in contemporary dance, theater, music, and cross-genre performance at Los Angeles venues.
Each edition encourages artists, curators, and organizations to take part in performance presentations, thought-provoking dialogues, and creative encounters aimed at nurturing mutual exploration and long-lasting connections.
Mason self-describes as “black, Irish, Filipino, gender-queer, plus-sized and fabulous!” and uses they/them pronouns. Born in Santa Monica, California, Mason has a master’s degree in writing for screen and stage from Northwestern University.
Other works include “The White Dress” and “The Pride of Lions.” Mason’s work has been staged in Los Angeles and New York.
Mason’s many awards include the 2020 Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award, presented annually by Celebration Theatre to honor “LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) playwrights whose groundbreaking work has entertained, inspired, and empowered the community.”
Mason is also the winner of the 2023 Young-Howze Award for Mind-Blowing Stage Writing of the Year for the play “Lavender Men.”
“My mother has grown supportive of my artistry as my career has developed. One thing you have to understand about Mother Mason is that she is a CPA by trade. And by personal philosophy, she doesn’t relish in abstractions. So, unless she sees something right in front of her, it isn’t real yet.”
Now that she’s seen Mason’s work produced and acknowledged, “she has more context in which to understand and appreciate my journey as an artist.”
“My mother will be hearing [this play] for the first time. Because many of her sayings and life experiences will be depicted, I am sure she will be flattered, delighted and invigorated by the work. Whenever she hears something in my work that resembles a notion she’s shared, she goes, ‘Oh! That’s me, honey!’”