Emerson Theater Collaborative presents ‘True Nature of All Being’ by Lisa Giordano
Emerson Theater Collaborative presents True Nature of All Being by Lisa Giordano, May 6-7 at 7 p.m. and May 8 at 2 p.m. at the Sedona Academy of the Arts in the Village of Oak Creek. This show is produced by Camilla Ross and directed by Ashley Adelman.
In 1970, in Minamata – a small fishing village in Japan, a fisherman, Teru Moriya struggles to make ends meet and take care of his family; especially her severely disabled young daughter. The livelihood of all the fishermen in the village is at stake as many people fall ill and the suspected culprit is mercury drained from a nearby chemical plant and polluting the waters. The villagers disagree as some villagers depend on the chemical plant for their livelihood. The disease divides the town, families, including Teru Moriya’s, and destroys individual lives. Village women have banded together to uncover the truth, save their children, and ignite the global environmental movement.
The cast includes Asuka Morinaga Derfler as Michiko Moriya, Shoko Rice as Hana Moriya, Koji Ono as Teru Moriya, Samantha Shen as Fumiko Murasaki, Zak Ma as Hiroshi Murasaki, Julie Rhee as Aunt Yoshiko, and Junko Nishiguchi Cheng as Aunt Yuiko.
Asuka Morinaga Derfler is from Hiroshima and graduated from the Toho Gakuen Drama Department. She was a member of the Haiyuza Theater Company in Tokyo. She has many stage credits and is also a voice actress whose credits include Play Station games.
Shoko Rice was born and raised in Niigata, Japan. She moved to the United States alone in 2006 without being able to speak English. She’s been living in LA ever since, and now it’s her second home. She has worked on many movies and TV shows in Hollywood. She proved that an immigrant with English as a second language could lead a Hollywood film when she recently starred in Call Me Emanuelle.
Koji Ono is originally from Japan and has been performing as a professional actor for 11 years with the Shiki Theater Company, the country’s most famous theater company. He performed in shows such as A Chorus Line, West Side Story and The Lion King.
Samantha Shen grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and was heavily involved in theater and music ministry. She moved to Los Angeles to earn her bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology at UCLA. She now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she has found a balance between her life and her life’s work. She shares her love of storytelling and music by releasing original songs and playing characters that portray minority stories, raising voices that have been silenced for too long.
Zak Ma is a New York-based actor and physical theater artist from Southern California. He believes in the healing power of art and aims to erase the limits of the outcome of societal, ancestral and cultural dictations. Zak recently created, produced and starred in his solo show, Ma: The Exodus, an exploration of his personal experience as an Asian American immigrant.
Julie Rhee is a writer, director and actress from New York. His original one-act plays include Mother’s Day and Blind Date. As an actress, she played Lauren in Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation and Juror #8 in Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Jurors. She loves stand-up and participated in the She-Devil Comedy Fest in New York.
Junko Nishiguchi Cheng grew up in Osaka, Japan, and New York and Southern California, where she now resides with her husband of 34 years and their two adult children. After more than thirty years as an international recording artist, she transitioned into acting in 2018 when she was cast as ‘Lipstick Lady’ in Taylor Swift’s music video Delicate. She has since appeared in several films, commercials and TV shows and is thrilled to appear in her first stage production since her college musical theater days.
Discussions will take place after each program moderated by Andrea Christelle, scholarship holder in humanities from AZ. Koizumi Hatsue from the Minamata Disease Museum in Japan will join via Zoom.
Tickets for shows at the theater cost between $35 and $45 for regular seats or reserve a seat at a table for $55 per person. They can be purchased at https://bit.ly/etc_true_nature_22.
The May 6 performance will also be a live-streamed event. Stream tickets are available at bit.ly/etc-true-nature-live-stream.
VISITS | SOUNDS | SAMPLES Event Overview
Join us Wednesday, May 4 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SAMPLES of the Asian-American experience. This event is an Asian cultural learning adventure in conjunction with Emerson Theater Collaborative’s May 6-8 production of True Nature of All Being, produced by Camilla Ross, written by Lisa Giordano and directed by Ashley Adelman.
SIGHTS – Japanese karate, called Seido, will be demonstrated by third-degree black belt Ashley Adelman; Demonstration of the art of making sushi by chef Minyan Zhu; and Asian art will also be exhibited.
SOUNDS – the musical sounds of actress Shoko Rice will perfectly complement this very special event.
SAMPLES – Enjoy Nigori and Junmai Sake accompanying a wide variety of tuna and salmon sushi and more. Learn about Asia’s unique cuisine. Asian sweets will also be available for tasting.
Karreemah (Kay) Muhammad of KAYZ Oilz will share information about the traumas we inherit from our predecessors and how essential oils can help support and balance our bodily systems.
Preview tickets are $45 per person in advance or $55 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at https://bit.ly/AAS-SSS-Asian-Exp.
All performances will be held at the Sedona Academy of the Arts in The Collective Sedona located at 7000 SR 179, Suite C-100 in the Village of Oak Creek. CDC COVID-19 guidelines are in place for all events. For more information or to reserve tickets over the phone, please call 860-705-9711.