[PAST EVENT] TEA, a play by Velina Hasu Houston (Directed by Francis Tanglao Aguas)

April 28, 2011
7pm - 10:20pm
Andrews Hall, Room 101
605 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Produced and performed by the students of Theatre 340: Asian Pacific American History in Theatre & Film, as part of their month long programming assignment of Asian Pacific American Heritage 2011.

Velina Hasu Houston's, Tea

In a town near a military base in Kansas, four Japanese women, all post-war emigrants with American servicemen husbands, meet at the home of a fifth, Himiko, who has shot herself. The four women have differences of background, temperament, outlook, and status, and two are widows. During the meeting, they clean and tidy the house, drink tea together, and come to a difficult accommodation with each other. Himiko is present as a spirit, gradually reconciling herself to her fate and death. As they undergo their rite of passage, the women "transform" to their past selves in Japan, to their husbands, and to their own children, so that the playwright through these techniques creates a full and complex portraiture of the women coming to terms with their cultural limbo in a largely alien society. At the climax, the tragic circumstances behind Himiko's suicide are fully revealed in a moving epiphany.

The Playwright
VELINA HASU HOUSTON is an award-winning multi-genre author who writes plays, film and television, cultural criticism, poetry and prose. Across the span of her career, she has been recognized as a Japan Foundation Fellow, a Rockefeller Foundation fellow (twice), a Sidney F. Brody fellow, and a James Zumburge fellow (thrice). Her play Calling Aphrodite was awarded a 2003 Silver Medal for the Pinter Review Prize for drama.

From 2000 to the present, Ms. Houston has had six world premieres of six different plays: Ikebana, Shedding the Tiger, Amazing Grace, Waiting for Tadashi, Point of Departure, and The Lotus of the Sublime Pond in regional theatres and other venues across the country.

Twelve of her plays have been commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club, Asia Society, Honolulu Theatre for Youth and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation New Generations Play Project, the Mark Taper Forum (two), the State of Hawaii Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Jewish Women's Theatre Project, Sacramento Theatre Company (three) and Cornerstone Theatre Company.

TEA continues to be regularly produced throughout the country, most recently this year at California's International City Theatre, Long Beach, where the production won a Critics' Pick from Backstage West magazine.

Ms. Houston has a Ph.D. from the School of Cinema-Television, USC, and an MFA from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. She is currently Professor of Theatre, resident playwright, and Creator and Director of the MFA Dramatic Writing program at the USC School of Theatre.

Her plays, critical essays and poetry are published in various journals and anthologies. She has edited two drama anthologies: The Politics of Life (Temple University Press, 1993), and But Still, Like Air, I'll Rise (Temple, 1997). Professional memberships include the Writers Guild of America, West, the Dramatists Guild, and the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.