Fil-Am playwright’s comic exploration of ‘a good death’ premieres

/ 02:22 AM March 07, 2019

NEW YORK — The world premiere of “Dying in Boulder” by Fil-Am playwright Linda Faigao-Hallis being presented by Tony-award winning regional theater La MaMa, with Out of the Box Theatrics.

Directed by Ian Morgan, the play opened at La MaMa’s The Downstairs on March 3 and runs until March 17.

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In a quest for a “good death,” a dying Caucasian-American Buddhist in Boulder, Colorado enlists her reluctant mixed-Filipino family in micromanaging her impending funeral rites.

Linda Faigao-Hall: ‘I haven’t stopped writing.’ Billy Bustamante

“Dying in Boulder” is a comic but moving exploration of American cultural confusion around aging and dying – and people’s inability to control either.

The play was inspired by circumstances within Faigao-Hall’s own family. She shared with Blastingnews.com how her Caucasian-American sister-in-law, who was a baptized Buddhist, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was there attending to her care during her last week,” said the playwright. “She arranged for Tibetan Buddhist funeral rites; at that time, I was a practicing Catholic and was directly involved with the rituals.”

Faigao-Hall said writing plays has long been her passion.

“I’ve been writing plays since I was a child in the Philippines. It was always a passion. I continued to pursue it when I immigrated in 1971. My first production was in 1984. I haven’t stopped writing,” she said.

The play stars Obie Award winner Jan Leslie Harding (Mac Wellman’s “Sincerity Forever”), Fenton Li, Bernadette Quigley (“Mr. Robot”) Michael Rabe, and Mallory Ann Wu with a production team that includes two other Filipino theater artists, costume designer Raven Ong and sound designer Fabian Obispo.

Linda Faigao-Hall has been produced on the East and West coasts and abroad. Her plays include “The Female Heart” produced by Diverse City Theater Company & Ensemble Studio Theater on Theater Row, NYC and at UP Diliman Theater, Philippines.

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Among her other plays are “The A – Word” (DCT, Theater Row, NYC), “Woman From the Other Side of the World,” (Ma-Yi Theater, NYC), East West Players Inc. Los Angeles, CA; Asian-American Repertory Theater, San Diego, CA; InterAct Theater, Sacramento, CA); “God, Sex and Blue Water” (Living Image Arts, Theater Row, NYC); “Sparrow” (LIA, Theater Row, NYC), “State Without Grace,” (Pan Asian Repertory Theater, NYC; Asian-American Theater Company, San Francisco, CA).

An anthology of her plays “The Female Heart and other Plays” was published by No Passport Press in New York; she has appeared in The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2008, Smith & Kraus and The Savage Stage – The Best Plays of Ma-Yi, New York.

Director Ian Morgan is Associate Artistic Director of The New Group. In addition to overseeing the company’s mainstage season, he created and runs the NewGroup/NewWorks play development program and education programs for all ages, including the Scene 1 program for teens. He has developed many plays for the company, produced and directed in the New Group (Naked) second stage series, and directed the Drama Desk Award-nominated premiere of “The Accomplices.” Also as a director, he has mounted new work in New York at 59E59, Soho Playhouse, Stella Adler Studios, Abrons Art Center, HERE, and Theatre Row, where he premiered Linda Faigao-Hall’s play “Sparrow.”

Out of the Box Theatrics was founded in 2015 by Elizabeth Flemming with a mission to encourage artists and audiences to view theatre from a new angle (“outside the box”). La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa was awarded the 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award. @The FilAm

To purchase tickets, call 212-352-3101 or visit La MaMa website — La MaMa Experimental Theatre.

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TAGS: death rituals, dying, Filipino American playwright, good death, Linda Faigao-Hall, new play
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