Playwright profiles: Damon Chua

16 Oct

BTSblog presents you the playwrights of the first Between the Seas staged readings event.

Damon received an Ovation Award (Best World Premiere Play) for his full-length work FILM CHINOIS, a noir mystery set in 1947 China. This play is published by Samuel French. His short play STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES was picked as one of the Best 10-Minute Plays of 2009 and published by Smith & Kraus. His other plays include A BOOK BY ITS COVER; DARK SIDES OF THE MOON; THE GHOST BUILDING; and 10-minute plays A BOY, A GIRL AND A PUPPET WITH A COWBOY HAT; DOGS ARE EVIL; and EATING FRENCH. A Durfee Foundation grant recipient, Damon has been invited to many theatre conferences including the Last Frontier Theatre Conference and the Cultural Conversations Theatre Festival. His pieces have been presented in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Alaska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, London and Singapore.

About writing AZIZA:
The current struggle between Islam and Christianity is nothing new. For a long time, Spain was ruled by the Islamic Moors, from the late 8th Century to the eve of Columbus setting sail for the New World, a period longer than 1492 to present day. While Islamic Spain was known for its religious tolerance, all good things come to an end, and so they did, resulting in the bloody expulsion of the Moors from Spain in the late 15th Century. Now, as Islam re-exerts its strength in many parts of the world, conflicts are again sharpened.

My interest as a playwright is to uncover universal themes and issues through a juxtaposition of the past and present, in a non-naturalistic way, with a majority of the acting roles written for people of color. I created AZIZA not just as a character piece, but also as a vehicle to further the current “clash of civilization” discussion, spotlighting the tragic consequences of repressive thinking that still exists in many parts of the world today.

The play’s production history:
Feb 2008 – Workshop production at Cultural Conversations Theatre Festival at Penn State University
April 2008 – Finalist, Long Beach Playhouse’s New Works Festival
May 2008 – Reading at Long Beach Playhouse
May 2008 – Semi-Finalist, Reverie Productions’ Next Generation Playwriting Contest
Jun 2008 – Staged reading at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Alaska
Feb 2009 – Invited to the Staging the Middle East Conference, University of California, Riverside

What are your links to the Mediterranean?

Despite looking 100% Asian, some Spanish blood courses through my body.

Damon’s play AZIZA will be featured in the Between the Seas staged readings, on Monday October 18th, 6-8 pm at Solas Bar [232 East 9th str.]

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