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Jesca Prudencio Brings Comedy and Visibility of AAPI Experiences

to the Spotlight at the Old Globe
By Lainie Alfaro


SAN DIEGO, CA -- Imagination and creativity are the words Filipino-American director, Jesca Prudencio, said captivated her when she came across “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play.”  “I’m drawn to work that challenges what I know and what our audience knows,” Prudencio said.  An Asian American teenager, MSG and time travel would seemingly have little in common. Yet, in Keiko Green’s play “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play,” these three things collide to tell the teenager’s story of redeeming her family name and fitting in, while also presenting moments grounded in comedy. The play is running at the Old Globe April 13 through May 7.


And for director of the play, Prudencio, the challenges that the main character must face are not far from home.  “There’s so many things in the main character, a fourteen year old girl, that I relate to,” Prudencio said. “Thinking about how I grew up in a very white suburban town and wanting to be just normal, I think that’s what’s also fascinating about the play. When you grow up in a place where you stand out, you so desperately, or I so desperately wanted to fit in. That’s what Ami’s, the main character’s, experience is. She wants to fit in. She wants to blend in.”

Prudencio grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where her parents immigrated for work as physicians. While her family isn’t in her same field of work, she said it was her family who inspired and continues to inspire her work ethic.  “My parents were very supportive of me being an artist,” Prudencio said. “They just said that if I’m going to do it, I have to be the best. They were very big on me working hard, just as hard as they did as doctors. That work ethic I really took away from them. I see how hard they worked to live their dreams as physicians here in America; I put that same work ethic in my own.”


She also credited the Philippine-American Association of Central Pennsylvania she grew up in for inspiring her love of performance.“That’s actually my first introduction to performance and theater, doing these cultural dances,” Prudencio said. “From there, I got into singing and dancing. I played the violin. I got into acting and then eventually directing. It really all started with my Filipino cultural community doing cultural work.”

She continued to follow her dreams of performance, receiving her BFA in Drama from New York University Tisch and an MFA in Directing from University of California San Diego.  She also was the inaugural recipient of The Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship. With the support of this fellowship, she traveled throughout Thailand, Japan and the Philippines in 2017 researching traditional and contemporary forms of theater in each country.  She said these experiences have impacted her directing journey, especially when it comes to “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play.”  “You’ll feel that in this production too — my travels and training doing Filipino dance and Noh dance in Japan. This play unlocks my creativity in a really exciting way,” Prudencio said.


In her time as a director and choreographer, she said her creativity has been grounded in telling stories that are not only entertaining but also challenging to the audience  “Here’s the thing. If an audience leaves my work just saying, ‘Okay, that was nice. What a nice show.’ For me, that’s not a success,” Prudencio said. “I’d rather people leave questioning something or wanting to talk about it, or wanting to call their mom. If I could wish for anything after this show, it is that people will want to call the people that raised them and tell them they appreciate them.”

From the Philippine-American Association she grew up in, to the creative teams and casts she currently works with, she said community has become a grounding force in her work.  “I create a community in every production I work on. It’s really important that we feel like we are a community,” Prudencio said. “I’m not just a director coming in to stage a play or a choreographer to teach the dance. We actually feel like we are a community. We are aligned in what the purpose of the project is so that we can all bring our best work.”

The purpose she said she’s bringing to “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play” is walking the line between comedy and truth, especially when dealing with a topic that has been the source of discrimination for years.  “Something Keiko said in an interview is that there are so many awful things happening when it comes to racism, hate and the AAPI community around the U.S.,” Prudencio said. “She believes, and I totally agree, that the first step of that is the offering of food. It’s easy for people to smell our food and say, ‘Ugh, ew what’s that?’ There’s a ripple effect to that.”

Prudencio said the comedy that the play brings is meant to help the audience relate while also revealing ugly truths about the impact of othering and hate.  “We hope that this show makes our audiences question, ‘When have we done that, not only to the Asian community? When have we just quickly othered communities and dehumanized [them]?’” Prudencio said. “We hope our audiences stay curious and really question how we treat each other.”


The Filipino Press attended opening night. The actors delivered line after line of raw humor that contorted and morphed my laughing mouth into an ajar gape when it hit me that the comedy of this play was deeply funny because it was deeply truthful.  Truthful about my own insecurities.


Truthful about the ways I sometimes want to disappear into a quiet, cold, empty place. Truthful about the generational hurt that therapy can only tap at the surface of a sea of undercurrents coursing with anger, disassociation, confusion and rejection. And the minute a bubble is popped on the surface, another lurking hurt fills the well.


Ricocheting between joy and sadness, present and past, hope and loss, I was propelled through an hour and 40 minutes of storytelling that made me feel known, represented and heard.


The ways the characters interacted with the audience at times encouraged us to confront our internalized racism or biases and at other times made us want to join in with the dancing or let out deep-belly laughter. The actors’ knack at being able to do those things and stand in the in-between space of those very different experiences was astounding. To see “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play” as a Fil-Am person is to take ownership of the seasoning, the food, the culture, the ancestors that came before us.
The Old Globe Theatre Company is hosting the world-premiere of “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play.” Previews ran April 8 through April 12. Opening night was April 13, and the play will run through May 7. Tickets are available for purchase online













Mga Bagong Animated na Video na Nagpapakita ng mga Pamamaraan ng Interbensyon ng Bystander

Ang mga Maaaring Gawin ng mga Pangkaraniwang Tao para Labanan ang Pagtaas ng mga Insidenteng Bunsod ng Pagkamuhi

Ayon sa pananaliksik, 75% ng mga tao ang nag-ulat na sila’y gumagawa ng interbensyon pagkatapos makatanggap ng pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander

Mayo 31, 2022 (New York, NY) — Ang AARP, Right To Be (dating Hollaback!), at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC ay nagtulungan ngayong Buwan ng Pamana ng Mga Asian American, Katutubo ng Hawaii, at Taga-Isla Pasipiko para makabuo ng serye ng mga animated na video para ipakita ang mga pamamaraan ng interbensyon ng bystander (paano tukuyin ang panliligalig at ligtas na gumawa ng interbensyon) sa mas malawak na saklaw ng madla. Ipinapakita ng bagong data na 75% ng mga taong nakasaksi ng panliligalig ay nag-ulat na nagawa nilang gumawa ng interbensyon pagkatapos nilang dumalo sa pagsasanay ng Right To Be.


Sa nakalipas na dalawang taon, naging biktima ang Asian Americans ng mga kasuklam-suklam na pag-atake at pasalitang pananakit. Sa kasamaang-palad, lalo lamang lumaki ang pangangailangan para sa pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander. Iniulat ng FBI na ang mga insidente ng krimeng bunsod ng pagkamuhi na inudyukan ng pagkiling laban sa mga Asyano noong 2020, kumpara sa 2019, ay tumaas ng 76%. Ipinapakita ng “5Ds ng Bystander Intervention,” ang animated video ng Right To Be, ang mga magagawang hakbang para tugunan ang iba’t ibang anyo ng panliligalig. 

“Nang nagsimulang makita ng Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC) ang pagtaas ng pagkamuhi at panliligalig laban sa Asian Americans sa simula ng pandemyang COVID-19, nagawa naming makipagtulungan sa Right To Be para iakma ang kanilang pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander para tugunan ang poot at panliligalig laban sa mga Asyano,” sabi ni Marita Etcubañez, Senior Director ng Mga Estratehikong Inisyatiba ng Advancing Justice – AAJC. “Mula nang inilunsad ang aming serye ng pagsasanay noong Abril 2020, nakipag-ugnayan at nakapagbigay na ng pagsasanay ang Right To Be at Advancing Justice – AAJC sa higit sa 120,000 tao.”

Ang pamamaraan ng Right To Be ay binubuo ng limang paraan ng interbensyon ng bystander. Inilalarawan ng bawat animation ang isa sa limang paraan, na binuo at sinubukan sa nakaraang dekada ng Right To Be sa pamamagitan ng mga sesyon ng pagsasanay nito na nakatulong sa daan-daang libong Amerikano na matutuhan kung paano sagutin ang tanong na, “Ano ang dapat kong gawin?” 

“Makakasaksi tayo ng panliligalig sa iba’t ibang anyo, mula sa mga palihim na negatibong pagkilos dahil sa lahi (racial micro-aggression) sa araw-araw na buhay hanggang sa lantarang diskriminasyon sa kasarian sa lugar ng trabaho. Kadalasang gusto nating hindi lumala ang sitwasyon, pero hindi natin alam kung paano,” sabi ni Emily May, Co-Founder at Executive Director ng Right To Be. “Ipinapakita ng animated na serye kung paano pinakamahusay na pangasiwaan ang mga pagkakataon ng panliligalig bilang isang bystander. Layunin nating gawing mga kaalayado ang mga bystander!”

Tulad ng sitwasyon para sa maraming taong may kulay, nakakaramdam ang Asian Americans na hindi sila ligtas at nabubuhay sila nang may takot. Nasiyahan ang mga katuwang na makita ang pagbuhos ng suporta, dahil mahigit sandaang libong tao na ang nag-sign up para sa mga sesyon ng pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander, pero ngayon, sa pamamagitan ng mga bagong videong ito, sabik ang mga katuwang na organisasyon na makipag-ugnayan sa higit pang tao sa pamamagitan ng paraang ito.

“Sa pag-uulat ko tungkol sa pagkamuhi laban sa mga Asyano at mga pag-atake laban sa mga komunidad ng Black, Latina/o/x, at LGBTQIA+ sa nakaraang sampung taon, nakita ko kung paano ginugusto ng mga bystander na tumulong, pero hindi sila sigurado kung paano,” sabi ni Richard Lui, isang tagapag-ulat sa NBC News/MSNBC na nagboluntaryong idirekta ang serye sa ngalan ng Asian American Journalists Association. “Mas malaki higit kailanman ang pangangailangang mabigyan ng kakayahan ang mga tao na ligtas na gumawa ng interbensyon at bawasan ang kasidhian ng sitwasyon.”

Ang limang video ay batay sa mga 5D na estratehiya sa interbensyon ng bystander na binuo ng Right To Be: 

●    Distract (Paggambala): Paggawa ng gambala para mabawasan ang kasidhian ng sitwasyon;
●    Delegate (Pag-delegate): Paghanap ng ibang taong makakatulong;
●    Document (Pagdokumento): Pagdokumento ng insidente at pagkatapos pagbigay ng          dokumentasyon sa taong dumanas ng panliligalig;
●    Delay (Pag-antala): Pangumusta sa taong nakaranas ng panliligalig;
●    Direct (Pagdirekta): Pagtakda ng hangganan sa taong nanliligalig at pagkatapos  paglipat ng atensyon sa taong dumaranas ng panliligalig.

“Sa pamamagitan ng mga animated na videong ito, nilayon naming maipakita ang iba’t ibang uri ng tao at lugar, para makita ng mga manonood ang kanilang mga sarili sa mga bystander na nakikitang gumagawa ng interbensyon,” sabi ni Alex Lo, na gumawa ng serye.

Ang pangkat ay aktibong nasa mga talakayan para maipakita ang mga animated na videong ito sa mga sinehan ng AMC sa buong bansa kasama sa mga ipinapakita bago magsimula ang pelikula at sa mga plataporma ng Comcast NBCUniversal bilang mga anunsiyo hinggil sa pampublikong serbisyo. 


Pinamunuan ng animator na beterano sa industriya na si Davy Liu (Beauty and the Beast at Mulan ng Disney, at higit pa) ang pangkat ng tatlong animator, at sinulat ng pinararangalang kompositor na si Zev Burrows ang orihinal na score para sa seryeng may limang bahagi. Ang mga karakter sa serye ay kumakatawan sa bawat malaking pangkat etniko (Asyano, Black, Latinx, Katutubo, at puting Amerikano) at rehiyon ng bansa (Hilaga, Timog, Silangan, Kanluran, at Isla Pasipiko). Ibinibigay ang mga videong ito sa Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, pati na rin sa Ingles at Espanyol.


“Ang pagbibigay ng mga kritikal na mga materyales sa pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander sa angkop na wika ay makakatulong lalo na sa ating mga nakatatanda at taong nagsasalita ng limitadong Ingles na nalalantad sa panganib,” dagdag ni Daphne Kwok, VP ng Pagkakaiba-iba, Katarungan at Pagsasama sa AARP.

Noong unang bahagi ng nakaraang taon, isang maikling paglalarawan ng mga 5D ang lumabas sa isang anunsiyo hinggil sa pampublikong serbisyo na ginawa katuwang ang Advancing Justice - LA na isinalaysay ng aktor na si Ken Jeong at na-animate ng pinararangalang ilustrador na si James Yang. Ang mga bagong videong ito, pati na ang PSA, ay mahahalagang bahagi ng mas pinalaking pakikipagtulungan at pagkakaugnay ng Right To Be at Asian Americans Advancing Justice sa buong bansa para palawakin ang saklaw ng pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander.

Para sa higit pang impormasyon, kasama ang kung paano magparehistro para sa mga libreng pampublikong sesyon ng pagsasanay sa interbensyon ng bystander, na pinamumunuan ng Right To Be at Advancing Justice – AAJC, tingnan ang



Kick It California is here to help Californians quit smoking -- and improve their mental and physical health 
By Mark Hedin, Ethnic Media Services 


California is once again emerging as a leader in the fight against Big Tobacco with the California Smokers’ Helpline, renamed Kick It California — the state’s official effort to help people stop smoking.

Through Kick It California, anyone who wants to quit tobacco use – whether it’s cigarette smoking, vaping, chewing or anything else – will find an array of resources available for free on the program’s new, mobile-friendly website, Other ways to get started on the path to better health include texting “Quit Smoking” to the number 66819 or calling 1-800-300-8086. The program offers services in English and Spanish, including coaching, and in some cases providing nicotine patches, gum or lozenges at no charge. 
Kick It California has helped more than one million Californians kick the habit. We’re here to help you take that first step toward being tobacco free — and we encourage you to check out our website for free guides and quit plans, or speak with one of our quit coaches to make a personalized quit plan that will work for you,” said Emily Aughinbaugh, Kick It California program director.

Now more than ever, it’s important for Californians to prioritize their mental health. More than half of the smokers who called California’s Quitline reported a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, drug/alcohol abuse or schizophrenia, and two-thirds faced more than one condition.


Notably, more than 70% of all smokers in this study tried to quit, regardless of mental health status. The high rate at which the sampled smokers sought help quitting indicates that counseling, like the services offered by Kick It California, can provide an “excellent opportunity toward improving smokers’ quality of life.”


Quitting smoking is a process that often takes several attempts to succeed. But, it’s well worth the effort, both for one’s physical and mental health.


Quitting smoking at any age is beneficial as it reduces the risk of premature death from chronic diseases and improves overall health. Over time, you lower your risk of heart disease, poor reproductive health outcomes and 12 types of cancer, including lung, liver and bladder. Within the first 24 hours of quitting, nicotine levels in the blood drops to zero. By the second week, circulation has improved and your lungs are starting to work better. Did you know that quitting can add as much as 10 years to your life expectancy?


In addition to spurring physical improvements, quitting tobacco use can reduce anxiety and stress — and even lead to improved mood and quality of life.

Kick It California is there to help Californians kick the habit of smoking, not only to support their physical well-being, but also their mental health.

“Every step forward counts. Start 2022 tobacco free!” Aughinbaugh of Kick It California urged.















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