Learning How to Read by Moonlight, a Children's Play for Adults Under the moonlight, six-year-old Eddie imagines a dragon eating moons and an imaginary friend teaching him English. His mother smokes as she prays to a statue of the Santo Niño. His father waits alone in Manila for their daily phone calls. Songs from a mythical giant turtle travel across oceans, but are drowned by the voices of Duterte and Trump on the television. As fantasy and reality become indistinguishable, the family is forced to learn how to articulate unspoken truths that will either break them or heal them. How will the weight of living undocumented in New York City force them to reevaluate their understanding of “community", “dreams”, and "home"? To assist the actors, a new narrator (a fellow artist, community organizer, or elected official) joins the cast every night. The narrator reads the play aloud to the audience, having neither seen the play nor read the entire script. The cast performs original music and songs to help tell the story. The play is spoken in English and Tagalog with subtitles.
Mercury Makes the Skin Glow Filipinos love love. Filipinos love beauty. Filipinos love beauty pageants. Former Beauty Queen Carmelita returns to Queens, New York, to start a new circuit of beauty pageants for the community in celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month. Her daughter, Jesca, is against the practice, and tries to stop them. As a way to prevent Jesca from doing so, Carmelita coerces her seven-year-old grandson Ernesto to participate, which then unearths troubling questions of race, identity, colorism, and the Global South’s obsession with the multi-billion dollar industry of skin whitening. We explore whether mercury makes the skin glow and what inner monsters we resurrect in the process. Part Filipino telenovela, part pageant, and part melodrama, the play hopes to get under the skin of all who interacts with it. novena G is a non-believer turning 33. The age Jesus died. The age their uncle committed suicide. In search for more life, G suddenly finds themselves in the in-between, in a world neither for the living nor dead. G travels to across an imaginary Filipino countryside to a place where unbeknownst to them they’ll have to confront their deepest fears of life: will they ever find love? Accompanying them on this trip is their late grandfather, with whom they’ll meet monsters of Filipino folklore, a ferocious Tikbalang, their late uncle, and their lost aunt, a survivor of demonic possession and exorcisms. A ritual play, a community is asked to participate in singing and maybe some storytelling. They together ask if love does exist in a world of cruelty, and discover together the joys of life, the reasons why we fight to live, and gratitude to themselves and loved ones. Inspired by Dante's Inferno, family stories, and my bipolar disorder.
First draft developed at Orchard Project Greenhouse Lab and Ma-Yi Writers Lab's Writing Retreat Intensive, March 2023
Sa Aming Puso/In Our Hearts - a Theatre Film Hybrid We are in search of the spirit of our people. Where has it gone? Where does it live? In our bones live the history of our ancestors who fought, resisted, and survived centuries of colonial rule by the Spanish, Japanese, and Americans. Somewhere in the reconstruction of ourselves, it seems that we have forgotten something that unites us, all Filipinos from around the world. Using texts from three work-in-progress plays, theatre makers Gaven Trinidad and Regina De Vera openly interrogate the lasting effects of imperialism on contemporary Pilipino identity and what it means to be Pilipino/Filipinx today. The filmed vignettes will explore themes of immigration, belonging, citizenship, decolonization, and the continuous search for what unites all people of Pilipino descent. The project was filmed on location in New York City, and was presented in English and Tagalog. Written and directed by Gaven Trinidad. In collaboration with and featuring Regina De Vera; Translation into Tagalog by Regina De Vera. Film Editing by Uno Servida.
Produced and streamed, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and New York Theatre Salon, 2021
The Believers It's the end of days, A and Z are sent on a mission by their cult leader to preach the teachings of the Enlightened Garden. Before they do so, they are tasked by Father Aman to complete several errands that test their loyalty to the cult. A little bit of Sarah Kane, a little bit of Waiting for Godot, a little bit of Salvidor Dalí, and 100% Gaven Trinidad. A play to remind me that there is indeed love in a theatre/world of cruelty. Currently in development.
First developed with the support of The Shelter NYC
Peril in Thine Eye A ballet libretto in response to the violence at Pulse nightclub in June 2016. Using Shakespeares's Romeo and Juliet as a jumping off point, the story examines the resilience of LGBTQIA+ love against cyclical violence in the United States.
The immersive dance-text piece premiered at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in November 2016. more information
BEACHED, OR LET IT BURN: A F*CKN QUEER FIRE ISLAND PLAY Mauricio, a brown first generation non-binary/AMAB Filipinx American, has inherited a house on Fire Island from a recently deceased older gay friend. Gentrification of the Lower East Side has kicked them out of their neighborhood and the trauma of 2020 has left them no choice but to make Cherry Grove home, which he ultimately cannot afford to stay. During the weekend of the long-awaited Pines Party, their close-knit group of Black, Brown, and POC friends arrive, only to find that the freedom that the Island has provided for generations of LGBTQ folks is reserved for white cis-folks. Ghosts of the queer past, present, and future collide as they question who is afforded “liberation” in contemporary LGBTQIA American politics. Currently in development.
Peril in Thine Eye (2016)
The Holiday Party 10 minutes Three queer friends prepare for their very intimate annual HolidayParty, but a huge misunderstanding forces the three to change course last minute just before the guests arrive.
First performed, December 2022 @ "PLAYGROUND NYC," zoom.
Delta Drag 10 minutes In this queer theatre of ridiculous, two rich Filipino-Chinese twins are now part of the witness protection program and it takes the magic of a Juilliard trained drag queen to teach them how to live in their new disguises in the Mississippi Delta.
First performed, October 2022 @ "PLAYGROUND NYC," zoom.
Vincent and His Ear 10-15 minutes A young brown queer human is trying to make sense of their bipolar disorder diagnosis and a recent heartbreak that mirrors Vincent Van Gogh's first recorded mental breakdown which leads to his infamous self-mutilation. Using Bridgette Murphy's book Van Gogh's Ear as the jumping off point, the protagonist questions if there is away to climb out of their deep grieving and confusion examining Van Gogh's speculated mental illnesses and his paintings.
First performed, June 2022 @ "Open Source", The Tank, New York, NY. Performed by the playwright.
Recording Session Interview #3 30-40 minutes Trevor and Paul meet on what happens to be the evening of Manhattanhenge, when the sun is in perfect alignment with Manhattan's grid layout. While they share tales of their search for home and family during this mystical event, they unknowingly conjure the spirits of queers past to seal their bond as human beings. Based on my interview work with HIV/AIDS activists from the 80s and 90s while as a senior in college in 2012.
Star Showers (an ending to an unwritten full length play) 10 minutes At the end of a journey, a man finds himself on a mountain top with three clowns and a World War II veteran. As the night draws, they prepare to release stars into the sky and to the beauty of the world. With a little bit of magic, the characters bring the heavenly stars of the Milky Way inside an intimate theatre. Can be performed by several actors or one.
First performed, May 2019 @ The Duplex, New York, NY. Featuring HanJie Chow in a solo version of the piece.
Kinky Choreopoems 15 minutes Three POC leather queers walk into a bar and share a drink. Relishing in sex positivity and kink, they speak to their sexual desires. The choreopoems explore gender, cruising, intimacy, sexual desire, human contact, race, and physical and emotional liberation in a contemporary leather community.
First performed, October 2019 @ The Eagle NYC (NYC's leather cruise bar), New York, NY. Featuring James A. Pierce III, Jess Orense, and Edgard Toro, produced by National Queer Theatre.