Play focuses on struggle of Filipino-American identity
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 02:10
In the midst of fall and Halloween it is often underpublicized that October is Filipino American History Month. It is no coincidence that this month, the Theatre Department is putting on “Flipzoids,” a play that deals with Filipino identity.
“Flipzoids,” written by Ralph B. Peña, is the story of three Filipino immigrants in the United States all in different states of assimilation. Redford, a man in his twenties that came to America as a child has all but forgotten his Filipino culture. Vangie, a first generation Filipino-American is trying to forget hers. And Vangie’s mother Aying is trying to get her to hold on to it.
The show’s director, graduate student Ronica Arntzen, said she feels that the play’s main focus on identity is universal.
“There were a few cultural tidbits that I gave them throughout the rehearsal process, but I mainly wanted the cast to be able to relate to their characters,” Arntzen said. “These struggles with identity, with alienation, with feeling alone in a crowded room – these are feelings everyone experiences throughout their life.”
Junior Brittani Yawn, who plays Vangie, agreed that relating her character to her own life helped understand her role.
“I play a character who is very much trying to fit into the idea of the American dream,” Yawn said. “Relating Vangie’s life to my own was definitely an important part of the rehearsal process. I hope the audience will walk away not only having learned more about Filipino culture but will be able to relate with the aspects of identity addressed.”
While the play focuses exclusively on Filipino identity, Arntzen chose not to limit herself when casting the show.
“There’s a small Filipino population at Miami University, even smaller in the theater department,” Arntzen said. “I knew that coming into the role of director so I was very open to having a multicultural cast. I don’t think that the aesthetic of being Filipino is the most important part of this play. The play is really about not trying to be something you’re not while remembering where you come from,” Yawn said. “Your history is something that is a part of you.”
“Flipzoids” will take place 8 p.m. Oct. 24-27 and 2 p.m. Oct. 27-28 in Studio 88, the Zimmerman Experimental Theater. Tickets are $6 for students and $9 for adults and can be purchased at the Shriver Center Box Office.