November is possibly my favorite month, and now, there’s one more thing to make this month extra-special: With five Asian American theater productions opening this month in L., November has unofficially became “Asian American Theater Month.”
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I watched a performance of “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” presented by PAE Live! at the Ford Theater. I was first interested in attending the play when I heard that it was an adaptation by Lonnie Carter of Carlos Bulosan’s short story about a love-struck Filipino migrant worker in 1930s California. I took a course on Filipino American literature last semester, studied some of Bulosan’s work and was immediately intrigued to see his play performed.
Jon Jon Briones played the role of Magno Rubio, and his performance was moving. He portrayed the character as light-hearted and comedic, but also intensely driven and tragic. The actors conversed in both English and Tagalog, which showcased the word play and rhymes utilized by Carter. The play featured original songs, guitar playing and fight choreography. It was a great show. I learned more about the challenges the first wave of immigrants from the Philippines faced. I witnessed the humor among the various characters but also the difficult lives they faced. I recommend this production to any theater lover in the Los Angeles area.
All this month, check out “The Romance of Magno Rubio” at the Ford Theater as well other Asian American theater productions such as “Ching Chong Chinaman” at the Actors Company, “Decade of Flights” at the Flight Theatre at the Complex and “The Language Archive” at the David Henry Hwang Theater.