Finals might be underway within the School of Dramatic Arts, but Distinguished Professor Velina Hasu Houston is also keeping busy for other reasons. The resident playwright at SDA has two readings happening this weekend across Los Angeles.
The first one is a staged reading of her play Tea at Hero Theatre on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. The production is a part of the theatre’s Future Classics Reading Series. The second stage reading is of her play Little Women (A Multicultural Transposition) presented at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum on Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.
Tea follows a group of Japanese war brides during World War II who gather during a tea ceremony to discuss the hardships of their new lives in the United States and Little Women (A Multicultural Transposition) tells the story of the Mayeda sisters on their journey from an incarceration camp to an uncertain and changing future for Asian Americans.
At SDA, Houston is also director of the MFA dramatic writing program and head of undergraduate playwriting. Her works have been produced by numerous theatres and institutions — including the Old Globe Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Smithsonian Institution, Syracuse Stage, George Street Playhouse, The Pasadena Playhouse, Barrington Stage and the Los Angeles Opera. She has been awarded fellowships from Japan Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, among others. She has also been honored by the Kennedy Center, Sidney Poitier, American Film Institute, LA Stage Alliance and many others. She co-produced the documentary Desert Dreamers and served as a multicultural assistant for Disney on Hayao Miyazaki’s film Kiki’s Delivery Service. Her plays include Tea, Calligraphy, Kokoro (True Heart), Calling Aphrodite, The Hotel Play, among many others.