Cricket's Notebook "Tuesday, 22 February, 2005 3:35 a m: <BR>"Missed Sigh Gone"</"

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Tuesday, 22 February, 2005 3:35 a m:
"Missed Sigh Gone"

This morning I found this interesting snippet in my e-mail box:

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 11:25:51 -0500 (EST)
From: "Felix D. Arroyo, Boston City Councillor"
Subject: Updates from Councillor Arroyo
To: larry@theatermirror.com
Reply-to: kyle.robidoux@cityofboston.gov

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Updates from Councillor Arroyo
February 22, 2005
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- City Council schedule week of 2/21/05
-- Whose Boston? Coalition meeting 2/23/05
-- BOSTON Progress Arts Collective and Asian American Resource Workshop: MISSED SIGH GONE
-- JERICHO BOSTON Presents: Freedom fighter film festival
-- MASSACHUSETTS ALLIANCE TO CREATE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF PEACE
-- Job Posting, Project Director
-- Asor Art Gallery: An Asymmetric Volume, Time, and Space Sculpture Exhibit
-- 19th Annual Charles Yancey Book Fair
If you know someone that would like this update but doesn't have access to a computer please print them a copy or have them call our office and we can mail them one.
Best,
Felix D. Arroyo
Kyle Robidoux

And then that third sub-head was expanded thus:

BOSTON Progress Arts Collective and Asian American Resource Workshop: MISSED SIGH GONE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BOSTON Progress Arts Collective and Asian American Resource Workshop
present
MISSED SIGH GONE
The Local Asian American community's response to the racist musical Miss Saigon through art, theater, and music.
7PM - THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2005
JORGE HERNANDEZ CULTURAL CENTER
85 WEST NEWTON ST, SOUTH END, BOSTON
$10 admission / $5 youth and seniors
For more information:
MissedSighGone@bostonprogress.org or 617-426-5313
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That "response to the racist musical" is, apparently, about this:

"Miss Saigon" (4 February - 13 March)
TURTLE LANE PLAYHOUSE
283 Melrose Street, NEWTON MA
1(617)244-0169

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NOTES:
Let me back up a bit here, since the Councillor's Office has thrown the affair out in the open:

I have had a flurry of e-mails, often carbon-copying Other e-mails, about this --- performance? Protest? Presentation?
Apparently there was a "flier" announcing it (that I have not seen) that sent missives ricochetting through the theater community until some of them got to me
I found a web-site for what is called the producing company:
[ http://www.bostonprogress.org/contact.html ]
But it's not been updated since 7 December last year and has no information about this show. However, their paragraph explaining the group does say this:

"With APA communities of Boston and its surrounding areas growing at
an exponential rate, it is essential now more than ever that our
stories are told in our own voices. As our communities continue to
break down barriers and make progress in the struggle against
oppression, arts play an important role in recording our own history.
We must tell our own stories before someone else tries to tell them for us."

With that as background, let me give what The Mirror has been able to gather from all those e-mails:

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--- "Aguillon, Michelle M." wrote:

Hi Jane,
The general manager of Turtle Lane Playhouse, Nancy McArthur, has asked me to write you to extend the theater company's personal invitation to come see Miss Saigon for free at Turtle Lane Playhouse before it closes on March 13th. They are ready to offer yourself and up to 3 guests complimentary tickets to see the show. Please let me know ! if you would be interested and which performance you would like to attend and I will arrange it through Nancy.

Thanks and we wish you the best with Missed Sigh Gone on February 24th. Again, we're sorry to miss it.
Best Wishes,
Michelle Aguillon

From: Jane Jung [mailto:jenajnug@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2005 1:40 AM
To: Aguillon, Michelle M.
Subject: Re: Miss Saigon Comp Tickets

Hi Michelle! I hope that all is well with you. Thank you so much for yours and Nancy's offer for comp tickets. I do appreciate the offer, but I will actually be unable to attend the show. Also, my apologies that it has taken so long for me to get back to you about getting together to talk. After talking it over with the group, it seems a more informal setting would be preferred. We are very much trying to pull all of hte last minute aspects of this show together, but perhaps after the performance? Thanks again for your well wishes! Sincerely, Jane Jung

On Fri, 18 Feb 2005, Aguillon, Michelle M. wrote:

Hi Jane,
We have 12 performances until March 13th. Are you sure you cannot make any of those? I sincerely don't think a conversation would be very useful if you have not given our rendition a fair look first. I've proudly taken great care in our Asan portrayals being Asian myself and lending what I've witnessed first-hand, some of what our characters are experiencing in the story. I've seen these places, those faces, I know people who have suffered as a result of the Vietnam War, what their mothers went through to insure them a better life.

Have you seen such things? Why are you assuming that our production is not sensitive yet realistic about such things?

Be careful before you announce statements such as "local Asian American Communities response to the RACIST musical Miss Saigon" on your flier and in your publicity. Aren't you being presumptuous in representing all of us? After all, I'm Asian, and I'm sure that my views will not be represented entirely.
Frankly, I'm hurt that you or anyone in your group did not start a dialogue directly with me or anyone in our production before countering it with your production of Missed Sigh Gone. I frankly find your views unfounded since you did not even approach me. Or maybe you can clarify if you are only protesting our production, or any for that matter, or stereotypes in general? If that's the case, I also ask, if you feel that strongly about protesting stereotypes, are you protesting any Jackie Chan or Lucy Lu movies? Big River? To Kill A Mockingbird? Or Birth of A Nation that played at Harvard recently (an old silent film glorifying the KKK)? The King and I with Sandy Duncan which will be in Boston soon?

Incidentally, friends and/or associates of yours did approach me directly about my portrayals and views and I can confidently say that they are supportive. Shouldn't it be our collective goal to unite and have a productive dialogue instead of making assumptions and segregating us?

Ultimately, what's good about all this is that I'm glad to know that we all care and have concerns about our culture and how it integrates with American life. It's just too bad that we all had to find out in such a negative way.

I've copied this correspondence to others in the hopes of encouraging them to see your production as well since I cannot - I want to encourage fairness in this correspondence. Again, I wish you well with your endeavor with your "counter" production, I really do.

Sincerely,
Michelle Aguillon

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NOTES:
With all this activity, and friends taking sides and arguing, I decided this single-night show must be covered by The Theater Mirror.
Here's the entirety of our correspondance on the subject:

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Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 12:49:55 -0500
To: jenajnug@yahoo.com
From: Larry Stark larry@theatermirror.com>
Subject: Missed Sigh Gone
Cc: Michelle_Aguillon@dfci.harvard.edu

I gather there will be a one-night performance of "Missed Sigh Gone" on 24 February.
That's the press-opening for "Homebody Kabul" by Boston Theatre Works at the BCA but I suspect your production is more important.
WHERE will you do the show, and At What TIME?
(I don't drive, so I'd be grateful for any hints on how to get to your playing-space from the nearest T-Stop!)
I don't normally Review one-shot performances --- even negative reviews are really advertising, but if a show's over, why review? --- but, again, this sounds like a major event that ought to be covered more as a News Item, right?
Give me details of when and where, and I'll see you there.
Break a leg all...
Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

--- Larry Stark wrote:

Perhaps this wasn't clear.
I am that larry stark who runs THE THEATER MIRROR on the internet:
[ http://www.theatermirror.com/ ]
I review plays, The Mirror has listings, news-items, letters, and ... stuff, all of it about Theater.
So your production is of interest.

PLEASE get me some information about how to get there, so I can tell BOSTON THEATRE WORKS I'll come on Third Night rather than the 24th.
Okay?
Love,
===Anon.

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 16:38:39 -0800 (PST)

From: Jane Jung Subject: Re: Fwd: Missed Sigh Gone To: Larry Stark Hello Larry, Apologies for the delayed response. THanks for your email. Here is the link to the flier, which I hope will have all the necessary and relevant information you need: http://www.bostonprogress.org/MSG/MSGposterVER3.pdf The performance will be at the Jorge Hernandez CUltural Center (85 West Newton St.) and the time is 7pm. Please feel free to email if you have any further questions. Sincerely, Jane Jung

--- Larry Stark wrote:

No, the flier DIDN'T come through at all, but I juggled the URL a bit and got this:
[ http://www.bostonprogress.org/contact.html ]
(I wonder why the performance is nowhere mentioned on this website?)

What I really need is simple:
How do I get to the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center (85 West Newton St.) USING THE MBTA ? ? ? ? ?
I've never been to West Newton Street before, and my sense of geography is non-existent.
I think I can learn more from the performance than I might from the flier anyway --- but I can't see the show unless I know where I'm going.
Love,
===Anon.

Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 11:09:17 -0800 (PST)
From: Jane Jung jenajnug@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Fwd: Missed Sigh Gone
To: Larry Stark larry@theatermirror.com

Hi Larry, Here is a link to a map of the vicinity of the JHCC:
http://www.hipsonfire.com/Direcciones/jhcc.htm
From the looks of it, it seems like Back Bay stop on the Orange line is the closest. When you exit the station, walk down clarendon towards Tremont. Make a right onto Tremont until you hit West Newton, where you would make a left.
I hope this helps and sorry about the link not working.
sincerely, Jane

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NOTES:
That's all so far.

THIS JUST IN:

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2005 11:00:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Jane Jung jenajnug@yahoo.com
Subject: RE: Miss Saigon Comp Tickets
To: "Aguillon, Michelle M." Michelle_Aguillon@dfci.harvard.edu
Cc: (14 others listed for copy)

Hi Michelle,
As Asian American artists, we have read this script multiple times, listened to the recordings, and know the plot well. In fact, the basis of our work is the libretto and music of the show, which we are taking and remixing for our purposes. We are reacting to this musical as a phenomenon and not just your particular production.
In addressing the wider notion of representation, we are completely cognizant of the ways in which Miss Saigon is complex in its racism. There are valid points the musical makes in its critique and cynicism around the American Dream. At this point though, we choose not to support the musical for what it has represented to us in the wider scope of this tradition of stereotyped asian characters written from a white male perspectives. We do believe that it is possible to challenge this dominant perspective by creatively transforming problematic works into something empowering. This is our intent with Missed Sigh Gone.
I do not have interest in continuing this dialogue online. I would be willing to continue this dialogue in person. Please know that we are willing and wanting to build a progressive movement for change through art, conversation, and constructive exchange. Thanks!
-Jane

WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!!

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Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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