Category: Theatre

Announcing “The –Ism Project”

MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora  – “The—Ism Project”

“The—Ism Project” is an original hour-long new work by MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora project composed of 6-7 short monologues exploring the intersections of race, gender, orientation and nationality, including stories with specifically Pacific Northwest perspectives. Monologues will be developed in local workshops also curated from a national submission process. The project will culminate in six performances including one staged reading, and will include post-show community dialogues with audience members in an effort to bridge divides and create much-needed empathy, understanding and compassion. The long-term goal of this project is to tour small towns and rural communities across Oregon. “The—Ism Project” production will be directed by Catherine Ming Tien Duffly. Actors will be comprised of Theatre Diaspora ensemble members and other actors of color who participate in a six-month series of workshops for development and training.

Why this project now? Three years ago MediaRites created Theatre Diaspora at a time when there was little Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) theatre being done. When it was being produced, often companies would either hire non-AAPI actors to portray Asians, several times in “yellowface” makeup. There was a great need for awareness about AAPI representation and stereotyping, as well as opportunities to create excellent work featuring AAPI artists for AAPI and PoC audiences. Based on data from our studious survey system for the last three years, the Theatre Diaspora audience we’ve been developing in Portland is majority PoC (average 55%) and younger (under 45) than most theatre audiences. Most of our target audiences do not generally attend theatre primarily because of a lack of representation on Portland stages. We soon began to realize that in order to grow and strengthen our theatre projects we needed to partner with community organizations and other PoC companies and artists.

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The Brothers Paranormal – supernatural story of love, grief and displacement

Tickets now on sale at Brownpaper Tickets! No tickets sold at door!

Savira Kambhu & Samson Syharath

The Brothers Paranormal
by Prince Gomolvilas

A workshop staged reading
directed by Kate Duffly
with live music by Joe Kye
January 19 & 20 at 7:30pm
1620 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201
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Prince Gomolvilas is coming to Portland!

Thanks to Ronni Lacroute for being our show sponsor forThe Brothers Paranormal by Prince Gomolvilas! (Jan. 19-21 at PSU’s Lincoln Hall, Boiler Room

(Dmae pictured with Ronni Lacroute (right) and artist Horatio Law on the opening of Caught at Artists Repertory Theatre)

Dmae pictured with Ronni Lacroute (right) and artist Horatio Law 

Thanks to Ronni Lacroute’s generous sponsorship MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora will be bringing Thai-American playwright Prince Gomolvilas to Portland to workshop his play for a staged reading with music by Joe Kye before his world premiere at Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre in NYC!

Not only will he be in attendance for final rehearsals but Ronni’s sponsorship makes it possible for Prince to be part of our talkbacks and offer a master class in playwriting to PoC theatre artists. Thank you Ronni!

The Brothers Paranormal
Prince Gomolvilas

Prince Gomolvilas

A workshop staged reading
Directed by Kate Duffly
with music by Joe Kye
January 19-21, 2018
at PSU’s Lincoln Hall, Boiler Room Theatre 

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“Washer/Dryer” Reading with Theatre Diaspora

Washer/Dryer by Nandita Shenoy

May 14th at 7:00 p.m. & May 20th at 2:00 p.m. in the Ellyn Bye Studio

During May, Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Media Rites’ Theatre Diaspora Project’s new season begins with an enhanced staged reading directed by company member Samson Syharath. Cast includes Anthony Lam, Sarika Mehta, Elaine Low, Dmae Roberts and Mathew Sepeda.In this light-hearted romantic comedy, interethnic newlyweds Sonya and Michael would love nothing more than to live happily ever after in Sonya’s single occupant New York co-op apartment (with built-in washer and dryer). Standing in their way, however, are Michael’s meddling mother, Sonya’s nosy co-op manager, and a litany of other squabbles they must overcome to save their relationship.

To purchase tickets or learn more, visit

The Language Archive

LA-ImageMediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora presents The Language Archive, a poignant comedy about dying languages and difficulties of love by award-winning playwright and television writer Julia Cho.

Dmae Roberts, executive producer of MediaRites, directs the cast: Tonya Jone Miller (previously in Breaking Glass), Leo Lin, Sofia May-Cuxim, Enrique E. Andrade, Wynee Hu (Theatre Diaspora producing ensemble member), and singer/musician Partfait Bassale (narrating and providing musical accompaniment.)

In The Language Archive, a language archivist is consumed by the preserving and documenting the dying languages from far-flung countries. Closer to home, however, he can’t communicate with his frustrated wife, nor deal with the deep feelings his lab assistant has for him.

The performance will open at 2pm on March 26th at Portland Center Stage (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR 97209) and will close at 2pm on April 2nd at the Milagro Theatre (525 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR 97214).

Tickets are $8 each. They can be purchased at for the 2pm March 26th show at Portland Center Stage, and at (service charge added) for the 2pm April 2nd show at the Milagro Theatre

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Volcano Embrace (1999)

By Dmae Roberts

Directed by Carolyn Holzman

A collage play with movement, music and sound, Volcano Embrace was performed by Dmae Roberts, Elaine Low, Mary Jo AbiNader, Wendy Graybill, and Sharon McAllister under the direction and choreography of Carolyn Holzman at Dreams Well Studio, November, 1999.

Hawaiian music was by Sam Kama, original music by Stephen Hoyt, lighting design by Sharon McAllister and set design by Jeri Swatosh.

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Tongue of a Bird (2000)

By Ellen McLaughlin

Directed by Carmela Lanza-Weil

This multi-ethnic production revolves around the character of Maxine (Sherry Okamura), a search and rescue pilot hired by Dessa (Ithica Tell), a mother whose twelve-year-old daughter, Charlotte (Angela Rollins), has been abducted. Maxine’s search for the girl parallels her search for her own mother, Evie, (Julie Cowden) appearing as a ghostly Amelia Earhart figure throughout. Maxine must also care for her elder Grandmother (Trish Egan) while searching for the lost girl.

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The Time Between (2001-2002)

Written by Sharon Whitney, Ellen West, Cindy McGean, Vicente Guzman-Orozco and Dmae Roberts

Directed by Carmela Lanza-Weil

time_chisao Lanza-Weil gathered some of the best talent in Portland to collaborate on this original collage play with Playwrights Sharon Whitney, Ellen West, Cindy McGean, Vicente Guzman-Orozco and Dmae Roberts. This team of commissioned writers created a play based on material gathered from a series of workshops at the Dougy Center and Grief Watch about the theme “What Hurts, What Helps” in overcoming loss and grief.

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Lady Buddha (1997-2001)

By Dmae Roberts

Directed by Carmela Lanza-Weil

Dmae Roberts, Ping Khaw-Sutherland and Elaine Low presented a series of 40-minute readings from the stage play Lady Buddha at Multnomah County libraries during Asian Heritage month in May 2001.Those who enjoyed the MediaRites production in June 1997 at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center featuring stories of Kuan Yin, the Asian Goddess of compassion and mercy now have a chance to see the new version of the play.

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Tell Me, Jamie Bigo (1997-1998)

By Dmae Roberts

Directed by Carmela Lanza-Weil

Tell Me, Janie Bigo is an original romantic comedy with magic and music; one of a handful of plays around the country that allows Asian Americans a romantic and comedic side. This fast-paced and energetic play tells the story of Janie Bigo, an Amerasian trying to carve out a life for herself in Portland as leader of a girl group called The Bigos (which means America in Taiwanese), and of her romance with Buck Tanaka, a magician who inadvertantly saves her life when someone tries to kill her.

This play was first produced in Seattle at the Northwest Asian American Theatre in 1997 and was rewritten for Portland audiences and produced at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in 1998 under the direction of Carmela Lanza-Weil and featured veteran actress Elaine Low (see photo).