‘United Solo’ Begins Its Fourth Season In New York City

‘United Solo’ Begins Its Fourth Season In New York City

Four Fil-Am Talents Present Their Solo Shows

If you like watching one-man shows, there’s no place you’d rather be in the next few weeks but in New York City.

Imagine a lineup of over 120 solo performers from six continents and 23 countries presenting their shows during the fourth annual world’s largest solo theatre festival at Theatre Row on 42nd Street. The festival will run until November 24.

There are four Filipino and Filipino-American performers this year – Christian Moralde, Marisa Marquez, Heldine Alora Aguiluz and Missy Maramara.

Compared to the inaugural season three years ago, United Solo expanded its schedule four times, from two to eight weeks, gaining the status of a resident company at Theatre Row.

“Being a fan of the spontaneity of theatre, I’ve always been drawn to it’s capital: New York City.  It’s really interesting doing a one-person show, because the entire cast is just, well, one-person.  Thus, I feel that belonging to a theatre festival. with fellow solo performers, would provide a more “interactive/collaborative environment”,” Moralde told the Asian Journal in an email interview.

Armed with a degree in Performance Studies from Arizona State University, Moralde moved to Los Angeles seventeen years ago to pursue acting.  He has since travelled the world with on-camera projects – from hosting a show for NBC in London to shooting a German movie in Berlin – he considers himself  fortunate to have booked some great jobs.

Currently, he is an on-camera host and has appeared on the TV Guide Channel, The Fashion News Network and NBC.  Based in Los Angeles, he’s had the opportunity to have met (and worked with) incredible people.

Moralde’s show is entitled ‘Don’t Call Me Walter!’ and calls it his personal story to find acceptance; both in society and within himself.

“I go through a lot of deepened emotions about emotional and verbal abuse.  My show is about overcoming personal issues about image, Filipino ethnicity, parental relationship and mental disorder.  All of this sounds very heavy, but it is also filled with a lot of comedy.  As a fan of anything dealing with pop culture, I bring up many references about pop culture that have shaped me…….I even have an entire scene dedicated to my love for George Michael’s “Freedom” video from 1990,” he explained.

Missy Maramara’s show on the other hand, is called ‘Love, Liz’. It was developed from a non-theatrical text (a project requirement in school), “The text I chose was the poster of The Lifetime Tele-movie of Elizabeth Taylor’s life, Liz & Dick, featuring Lindsay Lohan. Every word in that poster is incorporated to the piece, but is made site specific to Arkansas (a state not too many Americans are familiar with other than the stereotypes, but it is actually quite fascinatingly charming),” Maramara said.

She submitted the piece to United Solo for their consideration and was fortunate enough to be accepted. “I’m really nervous and excited, and really proud that I get to offer a non-mainstream (not from a big city) Filipino experience to the NYC audience,” she added.

Missy is from Manila where she acts for the stage and TV. She also teaches in the English Department and Theatre Program of the Ateneo de Manila University where she graduated with a BFA in Theatre and an MA in English Literature and Cultural Studies.

She came to the US as a Fulbright scholar in 2011 to pursue an MFA in Drama (Acting track) in the University of Arkansas.

“My show is a satire of the pursuit of greatness and the quest for Hollywood and the American dream. The play explores common misconceptions and stereotypes – particularly from the point of view of a Filipina in a small US town. It is based on my own experiences being here, particularly those that I found amusingly tragic and tragically funny,” Missy shared.

Completing the Filipino contingent in this year’s festival are Heldine Alora Aguiluz and her show ‘Daze of My Life’ and New York-based Marisa Marquez who is presenting her show ‘A Fallopian Fairy Tale’.

The festival offerings include shows by renowned artists and emerging performers, world premieres and performances returning by popular demand. Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated actor Gordon Clapp will embody the poet Robert Frost in A.M. Dolan’s play “This Verse Business” on Nov. 16 at 9:00pm. Oscar-nominee Eric Roberts and Eliza Roberts co-direct “Beneath My Fathers’ Sky,” performed by Zara Phillips and scheduled for Nov. 12 at 7:30pm and Nov. 24 at 4:00pm. Broadway veteran and 2012 United Solo Best Actress award winner Ann Morrison will bring her new play “Word Painting: Soliloquies Around An Easel” on Nov. 10 at 4:00pm. Off West End Award nominee Vicky Araico Casas will present her solo piece “Juana in a Million” on Oct. 15 at 7:30pm.

Presented categories include drama, comedy, storytelling, magic, stand-up, and multimedia, among many others. Festival shows will compete for a number of awards, such as Best Production, Best Acting, Best Direction, and Audience Award. The winners will be announced on November 24 during the Closing Ceremony held at Theatre Row.

There will be also a special United Solo Award, presented to an artist with outstanding achievements in the field of solo theatre. This year’s nominees are Alan Cumming, Alec Mapa, Bette Midler, Anthony Rapp, William Shatner, Fiona Shaw, and Holland Taylor.

Tickets for all festival shows are $18, available through Telecharge at 212.239.6200, online at www.telecharge.com and at the Theatre Row box office open daily from noon to the last curtain.

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