As We Babble On – East West Players' Latest Kicks off a Promising Summer Theater Season

July 5, 2018

(Courtesy of Michael Lamont)

The world premiere of As We Babble On took place this month at LA’s renowned East West Players. In association with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the exciting new play penned by EWP’s See Change Playwriting Competition Winner Nathan Ramos explores intersectionality, sexuality and personal agency in the digital age with striking clarity, mixing astute observations about gender, race, and social class with a thoroughly modern twist.

Directed by Alison M. De La Cruz, As We Babble On explores the story of Benji (played by Will Choi in his EWP debut), an Asian American comic book artist who faces professional hurdles when his comic book aspirations are dashed the same day his ex-boyfriend resurfaces in his life. With sure-handed direction from De La Cruz, the play sheds a light on oft-underrepresented people in the arts, including LGBTQ Asian Americans and hapas, providing them with a full platform to explore their failings, faults, and futures.

(Courtesy of Michael Lamont)

Moreover, the play highlights important dialogue across communities, tackling workplace discrimination, xenophobia and feminism with aplomb. Two scenes that stick out include a discussion of stereotypes of South Asians versus East Asians, with the character Vish (played by Sachin Bhatt) reminding the character Benji that stereotypes of being mistaken for being a doctor aren’t as dire as being mistaken for being a terrorist in a post-9/11 America. Elsewhere, half-African American, half-Filipino character Jiavani Linayao encounters anti-blackness at a cooking competition and cleverly subverts white supremacy with flavor and grace. Without delving into oppression Olympics, the character-first production asks honest questions about our own assumptions of race while avoiding platitudes and social sermonizing In this fashion, Babble examines the pitfalls of the self-starter generation in the information age, cleverly pitting its cast of twenty-somethings against obstacles both intimate and institutional.  It’s a delicate tightrope act that makes for an exceptional, insightful viewing. Strung between these admissions of personal and professional failure is a relentless sense of hope, buoyed by triumphant self-discoveries, witty banter, and plenty, plenty of laughter.

(Courtesy of Michael Lamont)

Contributor: 

Christian Ting

Film and TV Editor

Christian Ting is an Asian-American writer currently based in Los Angeles. After several years as a cast member of UC Berkeley's Theatre Rice and working as a story editor for hardboiled APA magazine, Christian took his passion to the Center for Asian American Media, where he helped market CAAMFest 2014. Since then, he's hopped between working at Twitter and Facebook, keeping his passion for Asian-American representation at the forefront. He also enjoys the occasional quality meme.

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