SEATTLE — Filipino American performer, stage manager and director Rachel Rene will be helming a fundraising showcase of short plays this month at the Filipino Community Center.
The planned Filipino Community Village of Seattle will be the recipient of the proceeds from “Four Short Plays.” The village aims to provide affordable, low-income housing to seniors.
The housing project is a planned expansion of the Filipino Community Center, both of which are managed by the Filipino Community of Seattle(FCS), a non-profit organization that has been providing health and social services since 1935 and is currently headed by executive director Sheila Burrus.
The village will be located beside the Filipino Community Center, which is along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Groundbreaking is targeted for later this year, according to playwright Robert Francis Flor.
“FCS will build affordable senior housing. They purchased plots adjacent to the community center a few years ago and have been fundraising for the past several years,” says Flor, whose works will be featured in the showcase.
Recently, the City of Seattle provided $11 million to the project though the funds are still short. “I agreed to have my plays performed to raise funding for the project. Just trying to do a small part.”
“Salamangka’s Barber Shop” is set in the late 1960s. A young Filipino American’s girlfriend has just dumped him and he is considering dropping out of college. He visits barber Tony Salamangka for advice. Tony is no ordinary barber—he’s an asog, a healer, and counsels the young man.
“Pinakbet,” set on the cusp of World War II, is about Lois, who is white and a great cook, and Fernando, her Filipino boyfriend who is bored by her meals and is considering returning to the Philippines.
“The Injury” is a comedy set in 1970 about a Filipino American softball team that must try to figure out how to help an injured teammate.
“Pinoy Hill” is about Filipino American families competing for choice picnic tables at Seward Park for the fourth of July celebration.
Arts organization Kultura Arts is producing the show. Cast includes Jared Alfonzo, Kyleigh Archer, Moshe Henderson, Casey Floresca, Nina De Torres Ignacio, Mikko Juan and Arlo Magpoc.
“Things are going pretty much as planned. Rachel’s doing a great job directing,” adds Flor.
Rachel Rene, whose father is Filipino, has been performing as an actor, singer and dancer since she was in high school.
“I added music directing, stage managing and directing to my list of theatrical endeavors after graduating from Western Washington University with my BA in Theatre Arts,” says the Seattle native.
Her recent directing credits include “Thought Experiment” (Infinity Box Theatre Project), “Ben Butler” (Burien Actors Theater) and “Perfect Arrangement” (ReAct Theatre), among others.
Rene also regularly performs with Living Voices, a theater group that focuses on solo historical pieces, and Theater for Young Children.
“I am pleased that these plays present an opportunity for Filipino actors to perform Filipino roles that focus on being a person of color in Seattle,” she says of Flor’s plays. “This is important to them and to the Filipino community at large.”
“Four Short Plays” runs Aug. 26 and Sept. 8 at Filipino Community Center of Seattle, 5420 MLK Jr. Way, Seattle. Visit Kultura Arts Facebook Page.
For details on Filipino Community Village of Seattle, visit FilComSeat.org.