Monday, April 9, 2012

Presenting a paper and speaking in a panel at 2012 Inge Festival in Kansas

INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS, and NEW YORK CITY: Playwright David Henry Hwang has loomed very large in my life during this current theater season.  In November 2011, I moderated a Broadway panel discussion at Fordham University Theater which featured Hwang's hit Broadway comedy, Chinglish. The panel also featured its star Jennifer Lim and its maverick director Leigh Silverman.

Then in February 2012, I wrote a news article that landed on the homepage of NPR, National Public Radio. It was entitled "Asian Americans: Why Can't We Get Cast in New York City." Guess who was the celebrity playwright who dominated that event, also held at Fordham University Theater? You can read the piece here.

From April 18-21, I will Hwang-ified again. The 31st annual William Inge Theatre Festival is honoring Hwang with its Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre award. Previous playwrights who have come to Independence, Kansas, to receive this honor include Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Edward Albee and Stephen Sondheim among others. The William Inge Theatre Festival is a four day Festival in April, held in Independence, Kansas, the hometown of one of America’s great playwrights, William Inge

During that festival, I will moderate/speak in a panel on diversity, serve as a respondent on a scholars' panel, as well as deliver my own paper, entitled "The Pirandellian Mode in the Plays of David Henry Hwang" as part of a scholars' conference.

Other festival guests and presents joining me are Jill André, Paul Baker, Nancy Barnett, Gigi Bolt, Jackson Bryer, Karen Carpenter, Barbara Dana, Joseph Gomez, David Grimm, Cynthia Hyer, Annalee Jefferies, Francis Jue, Robert Koon, Jennifer Lim, Nicole Lowrance, Tzi Ma, Elaine Rivkin, John Rubinstein, Alan Safier, Jon Sidoli, Dan Sullivan, Kent Thompson, Catherine Trieschmann, Ralph F. Voss, Greg Watanabe, Kevin Willmott, Will Willoughby, Elizabeth Wilson, Michael Wilson and Luke Yankee.

Here is a press release from the Inge Festival that serves as an introduction to David Henry Hwang. Click here.

Chinglish was recently selected by Time Magazine as the third best Broadway show of the 2011. Perhaps most notable is that in the theater of One World, in its list of the best theater from any part of the world, selected Chinglish as the best American play of 2011. Here is a film preview of Chinglish on Broadway.

I am honored to return as a festival artist and presenter at the Inge Festival. This is not my first time at the Inge festival In 2001, I attended as a guest scholar; I delivered a paper on the playwright Lanford Wilson who was being honored that year.


I am grateful to the Inge Festival for interviewing me for its Postcards from the Inge blog. Conducted by Amanda White Thietje, this three-part interview describes the four-year process of curating and creating a USA national exposition in Prague; the value and international impact of mega-art exhibitions; and my work as editor of an art-based publication in the Czech Republic. Here are the links to my conversations with the Kansas-based blog on the international value and ripple effect of mega-exhibitions:
  1. Interview – Part 1: "From the Edge"
  2. Interview – Part 2: "Active Searching & The Value of the Prague Quadrennial"
  3. Interview – Part 3: "A Ripple Effect."

The festival also roped me in for a multimedia documentary tribute to Hwang. One of the highlights of the Inge Festival every year is the incredible film documentary that the Inge team prepares all year along and in anticipation of this celebration. The documentary tribute isn't just professionally done. It's educational, too. One day, the Inge Festival should convince NASA to put all those documentary films inside a space pod, which NASA could then launch into outer space. What a legacy to the universe that would be: a view of the Earth through the United States' most important dramatic voices!


A LETTER FROM THE WILLIAM INGE FESTIVAL

July 7, 2011

Re: Documentary Tribute to David Henry Hwang

Dear Mr. Gener,

The William Inge Theatre Festival is in its 31st year of honoring playwrights with its Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre award. Previous playwrights who have come to Independence to receive this honor include Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Edward Albee and Stephen Sondheim among others. The William Inge Theatre Festival is a four day Festival in April, held in Independence, Kansas, the hometown of one of America’s great playwrights, William Inge.

This coming year, the Festival is pleased to honor David Henry Hwang for his incredible contributions to the American theatre. Our four-day festival culminates in a multi-media documentary tribute. The tribute will consist of filmed interviews with people who have worked closely with Mr. Hwang, live professional performances of Hwang’s material, video clips from his shows and dozens of slides and narration. Past honorees have been greatly moved by the Tribute, and each honoree is given a filmed copy to keep as a remembrance of the Festival and the love bestowed on them by their friends and colleagues. Mr. Hwang will be present at the Festival to receive this honor.

Our hope is that your schedule might permit you to meet us for a brief filmed interview of your kind words of congratulations and memories to be included in our Tribute presentation to Mr. Hwang. We will be filming in New York at the Dramatists Guild Monday, August 1st – Friday, August 5th.  Of course, we would also like to extend an invitation to you to come to the Festival in April as our guest to honor Mr. Hwang in person. Please let us know if you will be available to do a NY interview.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Sincerely,

Peter Ellenstein
Artistic Director
William Inge Center for the Arts
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