East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running Asian American theater and the largest producer of Asian American theatrical works, in partnership with API RISE, announces the return engagement of “From Number to Name: Back to Life,” a reimagining of the criminal justice system with stories from the API community, from Aug. 5 to 7.
“From Number to Name” is directed and devised by East West Players Visionary Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Lucille Lortel Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Kristina Wong (“Sweatshop Overlord”).
“The impact of incarceration on API communities is rarely considered because it’s a population that even Asian Americans don’t realize exists,” shares Wong. “But incarcerated and detained APIs is actually a growing population and the stigma around incarceration in our communities makes it so much more difficult to address. I am thrilled to direct this project for the second year in a row and literally make history by supporting this cast as they put their stories into record.”
What is incarceration? What is freedom? What is forgiveness? Each performance will take place live over Zoom and is followed by a talkback with API RISE, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower the Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander American communities and specifically those individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
Following EWP’s original streaming production of “From Number to Name” in April 2021, artist and activist Wong devises a new iteration of this production that is the culmination of a writing and performance process exploring incarceration, undoing prison politics, and restorative justice in Asian Pacific Islander communities. Formerly incarcerated Asian Americans and those in the API community impacted by mass incarceration take us on a journey through their experiences.
“From Number to Name” challenges viewers to reflect on our criminal justice system and imagines its future. Laugh, cry and listen as this ensemble of performers share real stories from life on the inside while re-imagining the future of the criminal justice system and freedom for our communities.
“Who better to share the stories and uplift the voices of the API RISE community than East West Players, an organization who values raising the visibility and dialogue around issues that affect our communities?” says Billy Taing and Diane Ujiiye, co-directors of API RISE. “Our stories and experiences of incarceration, immigration detention, and the traumas of how those experiences affect our lives are often not heard or ‘we don’t talk about it’ because of the shame and stigma. We believe this collaboration will be uplifting and empowering for API RISE members, and for our API community. We rise together.”
Featuring both new and returning cast members, this return engagement stars the formerly incarcerated members of API RISE, their families, and supporters: Macy Boungert, Rose Brown, Tue Huynh, Kirn Kim, Woo Dong Lee, Maria Kanaka Luna, Tin Thang, Toby Thet, Irving Revlova, and Meenakshi Ramamurthy. The production is assistant directed by Godfrey Santos Plata and screen managed by Juan Sebastian Bernal, with Jennifer Chiou as the production assistant.
Performances will be livestreamed. Early-bird pay-what-you-can tickets are on sale starting July 7 and start at $4.99 minimum. Beginning Aug. 5 tickets start at $19.99 minimum. Tickets are sold on a per-household basis. The Friday, Aug. 5, performance begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7, performances begin at 5 p.m. Video-on-demand details will be available at a later date.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change.