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Stage & Studio: Andrew Sianez-De La O and ‘Borderline’

Dmae Lo Roberts talks in her new podcast with the author of Milagro Theatre's world-premiere "Borderline" about ghost stories, living on the border, cultural trauma and more.

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Playwright Andrew Sianez De La O.

Andrew Sianez-De La O’s work centers on the culture of the borderlands. He writes about the diaspora of his identity through stories of myths and monsters. He reveres science fiction and fantasy and writes across different genres and mediums. His play Borderline has opened with a world premiere at Milagro Theatre and runs through May 18. Dmae Lo Roberts spoke with the playwright, who lives in Baltimore.

Subscribe and listen to Stage & Studio on: AppleGoogleSpotify, Android and Sticher. Hear past shows on Stage & Studio websiteTheme music: Clark Salisbury.

Podcast highlights: Siañez-De La O talks about:

Living on the border as a child: “We would get taught at a young age you need to act a certain way. You need to play the parts or else they’re going to grab you and they’re going to take you away. And that’s really what Borderline is about. It’s telling this ghost story again, to this young cast of characters and how they tell it to each other.”

Writing about cultural trauma: “When it comes to the trauma plays I think for me what I really enjoy doing as a writer is distilling that common sob story, the familiar traumatic story and telling it through genre fiction instead, and Borderline really leans into a horror play into a science fiction play.”

Writing for audio theater podcasts: “Every single script I’ve ever written always features a character of color in the fantastical world that I get to jump into, so you get these with audio, you get this wonderful ability to have magic.”

Dmae Lo Roberts saw a reading of Borderline at Milagro before the pandemic. She asked Sianez-De La O if he could adapt the character of Ofelio into a monologue for MediaRites’ The -Ism Project of touring monologues. During the pandemic she worked with director Francisco Garcia and actor Phillip Ray Guevera on a short film version of the monologue, with music by the late Gerardo Calderon. View on YouTube with a discussion with the artists.

Mila Kashiwabara in Borderline. Photo: Miri Foto.

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

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Andrew Siañez-De La O is a Mexican-American writer whose work often centers the culture of the Borderlands and his diasporic identity through myths and monsters. With a reverence for sci-fi and fantasy, Andrew has collaborated on projects across multiple genres and mediums and continues to use their skills to help bring under-represented narratives to life. He is a writer for The Elder Scrolls Online, an award-winning franchise and ongoing AAA MMO as well as an organizing committee member of the WGA Audio Alliance working towards an equitable future for audio fiction writers. More about his work at: https://www.andrewsianezdelao.com/

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Borderline

  • Written by Andrew Siañez-De La O
  • Directed by Anthony Green Caloca and featuring Mila Kashiwabara, Eli Ingraffea, Patrico Mendoza, Christine Angelle and Osvaldo “Ozzie” Gonzalez.
  • English, with some Spanish
  • Tickets: Adults $30, seniors $26, students$22
  • Performance is suitable for ages 13 and up
  • Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on StagenStudio.com, which continues at ArtsWatch.

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