Every year I tell you, dear readers, about how my dad died the week of Father’s Day.
This year, I’m announcing my show about my 1920s Filipino dad is coming to the east coast.
“Emil Amok” is about how a colonized Filipino arrived in America in 1928, and how I completed his journey taking him to Harvard and even NPR.
It’s the tragi-comic historical Asian American experience, all rolled into an hour-long show at the Capital Fringe Festival July 20 to 28.
Car pool up and down 1-95 for these five live east coast performances!
It’s an intimate fringe setting, so tickets are extremely limited.
Buy your tickets today.
It’s sort of like me reading my column to you over coffee, but with brighter lights.
And me gonging during the punch lines.
Here’s what some Filipinos said when I did the show at the Orlando Fringe in 2018.
“I liked the show,” Winston Taitt said. “I didn’t know as much about the history, so that was really good to find out about that.”
Sarah Taitt was even more effusive. “I loved the show. I thought the history was very fascinating because we hear a lot about other immigrant populations, but I’ve never heard about the Filipino experience.”
Another couple at “Amok Monologues” was Joey and Cory Canamo.
“I absolutely loved it. It was very relatable,” Canamo, 31, an American-born Filipino who works in Orlando’s entertainment industry. “It had moments of comedy. It was very funny. But then there’s the history part of it, things I didn’t necessarily know…like the stories of your dad.”
He and his wife, Cory, white and from the Detroit suburbs, met while in college in Florida. She related to my stories of going to a segregated school, and how my white buddies treated me, until our school got its first black kid.
They thought the show was a must-see before taking a family reunion later this year in the. They’re even going to bring Joey’s mom and dad later in the run.
There were so many Filipinos, I couldn’t talk to them all. Some like Sheri Barron know her Filipino parts run deep. She self-identified as a Navy brat in her 30s, the daughter of a corpsman.
Her father was half-Filipino, with a Filipino mother whose last name was Pardillo. Another double-L Filipino. Pardil-yo.
On the distaff side, Barron’s mom is from Baguio, and her surname was Virtudazo.
“I’m 75 percent Filipino,” said Sheri Barron, who visited the Philippines in 1991, during the eruption of Mount Pinatublo, which gets a mention in my show.
She was so taken by the “Amok Monologues,” she returned to see it with friends.
“Fascinating, really fascinating,” said her friend, Gayle White, about the show.
Her husband, John Kuntz, chimed in. “I thought it was a good show, it was quite an education for me. You’re very animated,” Kuntz said with a laugh. “I think it’s something that’s needed. I know nothing about Filipinos…You’re an inspiration.”
Sheri Barron agreed. “When you say [in the show about how Filipinos are] invisible, it’s still something a Filipino American faces today,” Barron said. “It’s definitely an inspiration. It gives you things to think about, and how you overcome it and how you think about it, through humor, through storytelling, it’s a great way to get our story out there.”
Didn’t pay them to say anything. Just some honest reactions after the show as we spoke out in the lobby.
Honest reactions to an honest show.
It’s the Asian American Dad immigration story told Filipino style from 1928.
(Dad even returns from the dead with a few choice words).
So get your Father’s Day gift today. And then experience the wonders of delayed gratification for a rare intimate performance at the Capital City Fringe, July 20 to 28.
All different times, at the Dove venue, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 555 Water Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024.
And after you buy your tickets, read about my father here on the AALDEF blog.