MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora Announces Here On This Bridge: The –Ism Project

Original New Work by Josie Seid, Samson Syharath, Yasmin Ruvalcaba, Heather Raffo, Bonnie Ratner, Roberta Hunte and Dmae Roberts.

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 21, 2018MediaRites, a nonprofit organization that provides innovative, award-winning documentary, theatre and outreach programs, today announced its first full production and original work for its Theatre Diaspora program. Here On This Bridge: The –Ism Project is a 70-minute full production comprised of six short monologues exploring the intersections of race, gender, orientation and national origin, with stories specifically from Pacific Northwest perspectives. The monologues were developed in local workshops curated from a national submission process. Directed by Catherine Ming T’ien Duffly, the show was comprised actors of color who participated in a six-month series of workshops to bring this production to life. All shows will include post-show discussions with audience members to bridge divides and create much-needed empathy, understanding and compassion.

Here On This Bridge: The –Ism Project will premiere at the Fertile Ground Festival at Portland State University’s Boiler Room Theatre, Lincoln Hall (1620 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97201). There will be eight performances in Portland at PSU for the following show dates: January 24-27 and February 7-10, 2019. Performances are sliding scale donations which will make it possible to tour this production around the Oregon. The show is suitable for audiences age 14+. This original project is made possible with funding from The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), Ronni Lacroute, and The Collins Foundation.

“I grew up in rural Oregon and I know first-hand the difficulty families of color can have,” says Dmae Roberts, executive producer of MediaRites and Theatre Diaspora. “Now more than ever we need to create allies and build bridges —not walls, to share stories and insights across our diverse communities toward a better understanding of each other.”

The monologues cover topical subjects such as tolerance, understanding and bridging divides. Examples include:

    null
  • “Being Me In The Current America” by Josie Seid. A Black middle-class woman experiences racial profiling in Oregon.
  • “See Her Strength” by Samson Syharath. A gay Laotian man honors his refugee mother’s strength.
  • “Carmelita” by Yasmin Ruvalcaba. A Latina recalls the harrowing story of her mother escaping hardship and violence to cross the Rio Grande River to America.
  • “Lockdown Drills” by Heather Raffo. An Iraqi refugee woman reacts to news of shootings and child safety
  • “That Diversity Thing” by Bonnie Ratner & Roberta Hunte. A Black tradeswoman negotiates the complicated terrain of diversity training.
  • “Harvest” by Dmae Roberts. An Asian American reflects on tragic family history with Oregon’s exclusion laws.

After the Portland performances, MediaRites plans to tour the show with community discussions and workshops in Beaverton, Hillsboro, McMinnville and Hood River from late February through April. More information about Here On This Bridge: The –Ism Project will be added in the near future, and will be found on the Theatre Diaspora website: www.theatrediaspora.org.

To help support this project and the Oregon tour, please make a tax-deductible donation via PayPal at: http://www.theatrediaspora.org/ or to http://mediarites.org. Any Oregon town wanting to host this project, please contact us at: theatrediaspora@gmail.com.

MediaRites’ Goals for Here On This Bridge: The –Ism Project,

MediaRites is excited to produce this original work and has the following goals for this production:

1) To produce an original theatrical work that will eventually travel throughout the state.

2) To address the divide and the backlash against People of Color (PoC), women, LGBTQI people, immigrants and refugees that have become more visible and frequent since the 2016 presidential election. 3) To address the intersections of race with sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.

4) To create community dialogues which we value as well as the professional work we hope to create.

5) To provide continued opportunities for theatre artists of color with workshop and training as well as to perform in this new work.

About Theatre Diaspora

MediaRites’ Theatre Diaspora program is Oregon’s only professional Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) theatre company, committed to portraying authentic AAPI cultural, historical, and social perspectives to reach broad audiences. By strongly advocating through compelling performances and post-show discussions, Theatre Diaspora bridges communities to foster inclusion, social-awareness, and open conversations on race and cultural diversity – celebrating the AAPI experience. To learn more, visit the website: www.theatrediaspora.org.

About MediaRites

MediaRites provides innovative, award-winning documentary, theatre and outreach programs. Previous projects include the Peabody-winning Crossing East, the eight hour-documentary radio series; Mei Mei, the film version of the Peabody-winning radio documentary, The Breast Cancer Monologues, a radio and theater outreach project, Ellen McLaughlin’s Tongue of a Bird and the original stage play, The Time Between (part of The Grief Project)Coming Home: The Return of the Alutiiq Masks and In The Mix: Conversations with Artists Between Races. Our artistic documentaries have garnered two Peabody awards, several Asian American Journalists Awards, the Clarion, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award, and the Casey Medal. For more information, visit the MediaRites website: www.mediarites.org.