99 HISTORIES: Production Photos

Check out these photos from 99 Histories. Performances run September 11-28. Get your tickets now!

The cast features Brendan Bradley, Julia Cho, David Huynh, Jolene Kim, Sharon Omi, Janice Pak, and understudies Kimiko Ann, Desiree Mee Jung, Junot Lee, Jane Lui, Matthew Mancuso, Diana Tanaka

Photos taken by Michael C. Palma, M Palma Photography.

99 HISTORIES (Los Angeles Premiere)

Artists at Play presents the L.A. premiere of 99 Histories by Julia Cho, directed by Leslie Ishii. Featuring Brendan Bradley, Julia Cho, David Huynh, Jolene Kim, Sharon Omi, Janice Pak, and understudies Kimiko Ann, Desiree Mee Jung, Junot Lee, Jane Lui, Matthew Mancuso, Diana Tanaka.

September 13 - 28, 2014
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays @ 8 pm
Sundays @ 2 pm & 7 pm

The Lounge Theatre 2
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

99 Histories is a powerful story about the bonds between mothers and daughters. Korean American Eunice, a former cello prodigy, comes home pregnant and unmarried, and tries to mend her relationship with her mother Sah-Jin. Haunted by violent memories, Eunice must confront her ghosts before she can move forward. In this riveting and poignant drama of memory, legacy and home, what is remembered might be made up, and the only homelands that seem to exist are imaginary.

$15 Previews (September 11 & 12)
$35 Opening Night (September 13, includes post-show reception)
$25 General -- $18 Student -- $15 Groups (10+)


99 HISTORIES: Venue and Parking

To those of you coming to see 99 Histories, we look forward to seeing you at the show!

For your convenience, here is additional information about how to find the theatre, including a map of the area. Free and metered street parking is available. Please make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking and check the street signs for any restrictions. The box office opens one hour before performance time.

The Lounge Theatre 2
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(Look for the Artists at Play banner)

Dr. Michi Fu, Ph.D. on Mental Illness and 99 Histories

As rehearsals continue under the direction of Leslie Ishii, Artists at Play invited Dr. Michi Fu, a licensed psychologist, to speak to our team about the issue of mental health within the Asian American community and in the story of 99 Histories.


The Sound of Truth in 99 HISTORIES

by Steve Garbade
There is certainly no shortage of music or sounds on this planet. After all, I will only hear a tiny fraction of it in this lifetime. Despite this, playwrights and directors continue to create such incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind productions that require a new usage of sound, re-arranged/re-imagined music, freshly composed music, and silence to help the audience experience the story and take them on an emotional and geographical odyssey. And that is the sound of truth in 99 Histories.
When approached about sound designing for 99 Histories, my first interest was reading the script to see what kind of production this would be and what possibly might be needed from the Sound Designer: Page 1, 99 Histories, Prologue- The sound of a cello. A young girl plays like a master.
Okay, here we go. As a sound designer/composer, I already have a million questions and none of them will be easily answered. Is she playing on stage? Is there even going to be a real cello on stage? If so, are the actors familiar with the cello? What piece is she playing and why doesn’t it tell me if it is important enough to be in first line of the script?

But what really piqued my interest is what made this young girl a master of cello? It just seemed interesting for a playwright to choose cello and to have a young girl (or boy) be masterful at it as a teaser of sorts to arouse the senses of the audience and engage them. Little did I know the answer to that question will take you on an emotional journey from coast to coast in the United States and to Korea and back covering generations - all in a short amount of stage time. (It should be noted at this moment that I am thinking Sound Design is cake as compared to Set Design, Props, and Lighting.)
When scoring a film, I usually don't get heavily involved until post-production with the exception of on-screen performances/singing/dancing. At the start of post-production, I meet with the director and view a very rough cut of the film. At this time, for the most part, all of the on-screen acting is done, which means that the sets, props, costumes, etc. are done as well. Then my work begins.
With AAP and Director Leslie Ishii, it is a completely different experience. The design team, producers and managers are involved from day 1. It is a powerful collaboration of minds at work to create this ever-changing world on a small stage. Every new prop, music, lighting or scene idea brings wonderment and possibility to the production as much as it does excitement.
It was awesome to hear the table reading at our first rehearsal. The characters were already emerging and emotions were pouring out of the words from what already seemed like a soon-to-be evaporating script. I even found it difficult to take notes as I had planned to do during the reading. Leslie has a lot to work with and even more to sort out and direct. However, we are all already enjoying our trek to bringing Cho’s literary world to life.
Does a cellist with a mental illness hear his/her cello playing differently from others? At one point in the production, the audience will be able hear and feel this real fear that Eunice is experiencing as she plays via aural hysteria of sorts; sounds will haunt her, other string instruments will actually duel her playing while footsteps are coming after her. This is something that will require around 30 tracks of recorded audio layered. And yes, I will take pleasure in the audience's discomfort. To me, that means, "job well done."

What kind of sounds/music could sew split-second scene changes to different worlds (both real and dream) together? Also, can learning a C Major scale during a piano lesson actually be kinda ... sexy? Well, I'm working on it. And most importantly, does Eunice's quest for the truth mean anything or everything?
So now, I take out my cello and enjoy the work!
Steve Garbade is a graduate of Berklee College of Music where he studied Composition/Film Scoring while playing cello for the Berklee College of Music String Quartet. He has scored over a dozen films including the multi-award winning films The Immortal Edward Lumley and Zero. For theater, Steve has composed and sound designed for productions at Long Beach Playhouse, Atwater Playhouse, Pacific Residents Theatre and has completed his fifth season scoring productions for Shakespeare by the Sea.


99 HISTORIES: Rehearsal Photos

Check out these sneak peek photos from rehearsals for 99 Histories

Directed by Leslie Ishii, the cast features Brendan Bradley, Julia Cho, David Huynh, Jolene Kim, Sharon Omi, Janice Pak. Photos taken by Michael C. Palma of M Palma Photography. 


99 HISTORIES and Mental Health

AAP co-founder Stefanie Lau
I graduated from UCLA in 2000 and my first job out of college was working for the Mental Health Association of Los Angeles County (now Mental Health America of Los Angeles). I was an assistant in the development department. It was my job to write small grants, send thank you letters to donors and support the department in any way needed.

I had already started on my path to a career in theatre, but needed a paycheck and MHA was able to give me that. I didn’t know anything about mental health, so I had to learn a lot and needed to learn it quick. MHA is a non-profit organization treating people with severe mental illness and one of their most interesting programs to me was Project Return: The Next Step. It was run by and for people with mental illness, and provided peer-to-peer support and resources for individuals as they worked towards their goals of recovery.

Project Return’s director was Bill Compton. He was a theatre artist – an actor, director and producer in New York before coming to Los Angeles. It was in L.A. that Bill suffered a mental breakdown and became homeless. After spending months on the street, Bill made his way to a hospital emergency room and started on his road to recovery. By the time I met Bill, he was a nationally recognized advocate for those with mental illness and a leader in the movement to empower consumers in their own treatment and care. Bill and I bonded because he LOVED theatre. (He was an Ovation Voter and one year saw almost 200 shows!)

Bill was appointed the director of Project Return in 1994 and under his leadership, it grew from a network of 30 peer support groups to more than 100 throughout Los Angeles County.  They developed the “Friendship Line”, an award-winning non-crisis toll free number where people coping with mental illness could call to talk to a friendly, caring and understanding voice. Project Return trained members on advocacy, provided employment opportunities and had many other projects designed to empower consumers. They organized parties, social outings, and of course, lots of trips to see theatre. Project Return worked to create community and friendships in order to combat the isolation that many people with mental illness experience. (In 2010, the program spun-off to become its own non-profit organization, Project Return Peer Support Network.)

I spent less than a year at MHA before being hired by East West Players and making my full transition to arts administration. But I still saw Bill because he would attend every EWP production as an Ovation Voter. He always gave me a big hug and would enthusiastically tell me what shows he saw recently that I had to go see.

Bill passed away in 2007. I had moved on to Center Theatre Group the year before he died and had, regrettably, lost touch. I haven’t thought about my time at MHA for many years. But working on 99 Histories with Artists at Play has brought back a lot of memories of MHA and my co-workers, especially Bill and the consumers who were dedicated to supporting each other on their recovery.

I’m proud to be presenting a show that explores the stigma of mental illness. It’s a disease shrouded in ignorance when the people suffering from it need help and compassion. And I would like to think that if Bill were around today, he’d be the first one to make a reservation as an Ovation Voter.