Founded in 1989 to develop, produce and present works exploring the Filipino and Filipino-American experience, the Ma-Yi Theatre Ensemble brings Ralph B. Pena's comedy/drama, Flipzoids, to Off-Broadway's Theatre For The New City, beginning Friday, Oct. 4. The show's official opening is Oct. 8, and it's scheduled to run through Oct. 26.
Flipzoids tests the great American axiom, "please melt in our pot" by showing three generations coping with ethnic and sexual confusion in the "promised land" of America.
Ralph B. Pena is a founding member and artistic director of the Ma-Yi Ensemble, which also produced his Cinema Verite and Kuti Kuti-Kutitap.
Directing Flipzoids is Loy Arcenas, best known as a Broadway set designer (Night Of The Iguana and The Glass Menagerie at the Roundabout; Love! Valour! Compassion!, Prelude To A Kiss).
Fabian Obispo will contribute original music to the show, which stars Ching Valdes-Aran, Mia Katigbak and Ken Leung. Valdes-Aran has played Lady Macbeth on Broadway and had the title role in Tony Kushner's adaptation of The Good Person Of Setzuan at California's La Jolla Playhouse.
Asked the significance of the company name, "Ma-Yi," press representative Gary Springer explained that Ma-Yi is Chinese for ants. "Back in pre-history, Chinese traders sailed along the coast of the Phillippines and saw all these little islands that looked like ants. It wasn't until the Spanish came and named the islands for King Philip of Spain that the islands became the Philippines."
And why did the new theatre ensemble choose "ants" as its moniker? "The significance is that the Philippines were around before the Western and Spanish influence."
For tickets and information regarding Flipzoids, call (212)254-1109.
-- By David Lefkowitz