Export Quality: A Theatrical Exploration Based on True Stories of Mail-Order Brides from the Philippines
When survival means self-sacrifice, the only option for some women is to become a mail-order bride and marry a stranger from a foreign land. Inspired by true stories, Export Quality: A Theatrical Exploration Based on True Stories of Mail-Order Brides from the Philippines traces the harrowing journeys of four mail-order brides from the Philippines, as they experience hope and despair, love and loss, death and renewal. The play explores the complex phenomenon of the international mail-order bride industry. Does the business benefit or harm women? How does gender inequality and stereotypes feed the business? For a country like the Philippines, how does colonialism play a role? What are the power dynamics at play? Export Quality also bears witness to women’s courage, their resilience in the face of violence, and the healing power of being in community and of storytelling.
By Dorotea Mendoza, Carolyn Antonio, and Erica Miguel
Directed by Sonoko Kawahara
Performed by Myka Cue, Cat Grey, Jill Jose, and Arianne Recto.
Produced by Loose Change Productions.
Wed, Dec 6, after the 8:30 pm show:
Mail-Order Bride Business and Trafficking of Women: Discussion with Annklise Enrile
Sat, Dec 9, after the 8:30 pm show:
Playwrights Dorotea Mendoza, Carolyn Antonio, and Erica Miguel discuss their process of writing Export Quality.
Sun, Dec 10, after the 4:00 pm matinee show:
Trauma and Healing: Discussion with Eliza Fabillar
Annalisa Enrile is a Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, turning classrooms into brave spaces to train the next generation of change-makers. She traces her roots back to the Philippines, where she became a human rights defender and anti-trafficking warrior. She continues to work on both sides of the Pacific and across other oceans fighting to end modern-day slavery. Annalisa believes in the transformative power of stories, the strength of community, and the promise of innovation and design.
Eliza Fabillar is an educator, researcher, facilitator, and nonprofit leader. She supports education practitioners and policymakers in addressing the root causes of inequities and dismantling systemic barriers so that all students have opportunities to succeed, particularly in underserved communities. Eliza is also a teacher of movement, breath work, meditation, and restorative yoga therapy. Fifteen years ago, Eliza began studying and practicing yoga and it was a transformative experience. She was inspired by the mind-body-breath connection. Eliza has worked with women’s organizations around issues like sex trafficking and women’s empowerment. Recently, she co-facilitated Inside Out: Stories We Carry in Our Body and Breath, and continues to collaborate with friends to continue this work, creating spaces for women to effect change by sharing personal and collective narratives. Eliza was born in the Philippines and grew up in New York City. She holds a Master’s degree in cultural anthropology and education from Columbia University in the City of New York.
Updated: March 8, 2023
HERE is now a mask-optional space. All patrons attending HERE performances and events will no longer be required to wear masks.
We ask all audience members to please stay home if they have a sore throat, are feeling sick in any other way, or have been recently exposed to COVID-19, and to please contact the box office for refunds or exchanges.
All of our performers, technicians, and staff members are required to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, they are participating in an active testing regimen to keep everyone as safe as possible.
HERE reserves the right to revise protocols as the rate of transmission changes and in light of new scientific data that may present itself.
Tue, Thu, Fri at 8:30 pm
Sat and Wed at 4:00 and 8:30 pm
Sun at 4:00 pm
Previews (Dec 3-6): $20
Remaining performances: $35
We understand the extreme challenges that our current financial climate presents. No matter your socioeconomic status, we want everyone to have access to groundbreaking art. There are ten tickets priced at $10 available for each performance on a first-come, first-served basis, for those in need of financial assistance. These tickets are available with the code ACCESS. Limit two tickets per patron. Subject to availability.
Running time: 85 minutes, no intermission
Content warnings: Contains references to sexual violence.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sonoko Kawhara (Director)Sonoko Kawahara (Director) is a New York-based theatre director originally from Japan. Her directing credits include Elephant Graveyard by George Brant (Alexander Kasser Theater), Tea by Velina Hasu Houston (Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton Univ.), The Nighthawk Star by Kenji Miyazawa (Target Margin Theater & Online live stream), Deadly She-Wolf Assassin At Armageddon! by Fred Ho & Ruth Margraff (La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater), Satellite by Diana Son, Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka, Cuchulain Cycle plays by W.B. Yeats (Fordham Univ.), Cherry Orchard by A. Chekov (Connelly Theater), Dream Play by A. Strindberg (Horace Mann Theater), Thousand Years Waiting by Chiori Miyagawa (P.S. 122), and more. Her work has been supported by Rockefeller’s MAP, NEA, the Japan Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and others. Drama League directing fellow and a member of “Usual Suspects” at NYTW, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and was a Resident Artist of Mabou Mines. MFA in directing from Columbia University School of Arts. Co-founder and Artistic Director of Crossing Jamaica Avenue.
Carolyn Antonio (Playwright) is a NJ/NY-based writer, activist and development professional. Currently, she serves as Director of Development at Womankind (formerly New York Asian Women’s Center). She is a member of a decades-old writing group and recently worked to launch Sari-Sari Women of Color Arts Coup with other women writers and cultural workers. In addition to her current post, she has found community and meaningful work at such places as Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, GABRIELA Network, and the Museum of Chinese in America. Her publications include Big Red Media’s Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America for which she was a co-editor and Prints of Pop (& War), a companion book to a 2013 exhibition at A/P/A Institute at NYU for which she was a contributing poet.
Erica Miguel (Playwright) is a writer and activist. She was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a second-and-a-half-generation Filipina. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Women’s Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. She attended the Creative Writing M.F.A program at The New School University.
Dorotea Mendoza (Playwright) was born in the Philippines, grew up in the East Village, and now lives in Brooklyn. She served for 18 years as a board member and secretary general at GABRIELA Network US-Philippine women’s organization. She also served on the executive committee of the direct service organization BABAE. She co-founded WAIL (Women’s Anti-Imperialist League) and Sari-Sari Women of Color Arts Coup. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Buddhist Action Coalition. Her fiction has appeared in Shanghai Literary Review, Flash: International Short-Short Story Magazine, Contrary Magazine, Literary Orphan, Cecile’s Writers Magazine, Ginger Magazine, and Podium Literary Journal. In 2016, she was featured on PBS/WNET’s Open Mic Night. In 2015, her novel in progress, When Fish Drown, was shortlisted for the University of East Anglia David T. K. Wong Fellowship.
Loose Change Productions (Producer), founded in 2009, creates transnational, cross-cultural theatre and performance exploring new creative, moral, ethical, and political territories. We develop work within the company itself and co-produce with outside venues. Our interest is in innovative structures; we seek stories that entertain but, more importantly, spur social awareness and empathy between diverse cultures and sectors. We’ve worked with and produced work by Spiderwoman Theater, including Material Witness (a collaborative theatre project that centers on indigenous women and their stories of violence, healing, and renewal), Red Mother (an old Native woman weaves stories of genocide with humor, music, and dance), and recently Misdemeanor Dream. Loose Change will produce The Mulberry Tree by Hanna Eady and Ed Mast at LaMama Downstairs in February 2024.