Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Poem for Edith
By Alison M. De La Cruz

On the occasion of the forthcoming 2012 production 
the Artist’s at Play Production

I love plays about Asian Americans.
I love plays starring, written, directed and PRODUCED by Asian Pacific Americans.
I love plays with complex story lines and overt gestures to humanize people like me.
People who are Filipino, people who are gay
People who are women, people who are daughters trying to protect their siblings.

I love plays about complex Asian American women and girls
who are trying to make sense of the world at a time in our development
when our parents should be… a lot things
And sometimes they fall short. Or sometimes they mess up that overtly
That one could begin to question whether safety can be created by families.

I love plays about fucked up, crazy Asian Americans
Who mess with the stupid model minority myth
Or racist notions of exotified otherness
I love plays set in the reality that there are Asian Americans living here in the US today.
Shit, I even want to see a play about Asian Americans in the 1990s and the 80s and 60s and 1860s and 1640s and 17-hundreds.

Now, I am not an advocate for fire arms
Or things that harm
Like violence or bullying or words that hit bodies like bricks and bats
I am not an advocate for things like that.

But that is not what a play is always about.
Though sometimes, and often, I think for the Artists at Play
A Play can actually be about things that harm
Or boyfriends who charm
Or little frogs that stand by as wisdom is chanted from the mouth of a babe like a blaring alarm.

See, a play, is a way to share a whole new world
Or to shine the light microscopic
On a culture
Or a time
Or a character who brings you a breath of fresh air.
And I think that you know this
If you are here today, shit we’re here today
Because of a play,
Or this amazing group of artists who want to make a play
That tells a story worth listening to
Explores a world we shouldn’t shrink from
And shoves characters in my face that require, actually that beg the question:
Why does Edith shoot and hit things?
Where is brother Kenny? And who is Benji?
And does pre-calc actually hold the key……. To….
Well you’ll just have to see.
See that’s the thing about a play,
It’s a reason to go, it’s a reason to stay
Stuck in a seat, from the time the curtain goes up
Till the time the last bow from head to feet.
It’s a way for us to stay engaged and exploring
Exaggerated and exhaustive in our search for the humanity in all of us.
And me,
I love a play that is written and directed, produced and costumed;
Set designed and sound designed, light designed and house managed
Produced and attended by Asian Pacific Americans and our allies

I’m here today because I believe in the power of a play
Hold a mirror up to society and say….
… well anything you want.
And once you meet Edith and Kenny and Benji and crew…
Well I wonder what things they will say… to you.