Empress had the pleasure of actively participating in four Red Room events this past month of July 2019. Below are a few highlights from being a part of these moments.
Stage Time & Juice Summer 2019 Theatre and Arts Camp
July 16-20, 2019, I had the pleasure of working with Stage Time and Juice youth during a Summer Theatre and Arts camp. We worked diligently the week leading up to the performance to deliver four of Aseop’s Fables: (1) The Goose That Lay The Golden Egg, (2) The Country Mice and the City Mice, (3) The Boy Who Cried Monster, and (4) The Fox and Three Crows. I was especially thrilled to work with children 7-12 while using theatre as a vehicle to boost self-confidence, ability to express oneself and ability to work well with others. It was a very proud moment to be able to see the fruits of everyone’s labor pay off on the day of the performance. The kids memorized their lines and helped one another shine. We received positive feedback from parents that let us know they appreciated the fruits of everyone’s efforts as well. It’s my hope that the kids will continue to take the lessons learned to their off-stage lives and apply the creativity, teamwork and energy they practiced during the summer camp. Thanks to each of the kids and their parents for their hard work, which was obvious during the Stage Time and Juice performance. Special thanks to Carol and Qori (& camp mom Rose) for being such a great team to work with!
FIG at Stage Time and Juice July 2019
Formosa Improv Group (FIG) had an opportunity to play for our largest audience of children during the July 2019 Stagetime and Juice. The enthusiasm of our audience members had our team led by Andrei Veja on their feet. I loved hearing the shouts from the kids as they offered suggestions for our scenes and jumped up to help us on stage. The active participation inspired our team to form stories around the poses our puppeteer volunteers created for us. This was FIGs third time participating in Stagetime and Juice and we are always grateful to be invited by Carol Yao, who understands how improv can be used to learn transferable skills. It’s FIGs hope that kids can enjoy the magic of improv through future Stagetime and Juice events and beyond. A special shout out goes out to all the other FIG members that were able to join in on the fun during my last Stagetime and Juice: Diana, Woody and Lizette!
Stage Time and Wine
July’s Stage Time and Wine was a special one for me as I had a chance to sing a duet. Although Tobie Openshaw and I have already been singing together for quite some time, this was our first time singing publicly together. We sang Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” Some of the lyrics were especially appropriate as my sabbatical in Taiwan was scheduled to sunset at the end of this summer. “Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come, to shine…When you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will ease your mind. (I will lay me down.)” I loved that it was such a safe space to share an intimate moment with many good friends who appreciated our offering of a classic, especially since we were the final act of the evening. Perhaps one of the most amusing moments was to watch the expressions of realization and surprise that the Chairman of the Board sings! I will miss this signature event of the Red Room’s and shall look forward to being able to listen to friends’ five minutes of anything goes when I visit Taiwan again.
Gettin FIGgy Wit It: FIGs Mainstage Show
On July 27, 2019, I had the honor of directing Formosa Improv Group’s mainstage show at the Red Room. This would be the last time I would perform with FIG at the Red Room, which made this particular performance all the more special. The theme was Gettin FIGgy Wit It, a play on a Will Smith song that I grew up with that I had hoped would bring everyone good vibes. One of the things about the Red Room that I love is that we welcome artists to make themselves at home. Therefore it was a pleasure to introduce FIGs guest musician, Lijon Hsu, as he became acquainted with the drum kit from the Red Room. We were also thrilled to welcome our newest FIG member: Woody!
Following the heels of a series of long form improv shows, this particular show brought back the basics of short form games that required audience participation (think: Whose Line Is It Anyway). My hope was that audience members felt like an integral part of the show by cheering (or jeering) for improv players during guessing games. It was especially meaningful to me that the last activity involved having FIGs Father (Jeffrey Schwab) introduce an activity called “A Day In the Life,” when I was played by FIGs Godfather (Stan Seiden, who had just flown in for a few hours to see the show). Everything came back full circle for me since the first time I took the stage at the Red Room was to perform with FIG during our debut show September 2018.
FIG hosts bilingual open practice improv workshops that are available to the community at large every Monday 7-9pm. We also perform at the end of every month at the Red Room. Please join us if you’re looking for some fun!
Thank you to the Red Room for so many opportunities to self express and to work closely with others in the month of July alone.