What compels people to cross mountains and seas to another country, another continent, and another culture to find their true selves?
What are the journeys we take to find home and belonging?
Don, a gay Chinese man, returns home to Hawaii to rediscover missing memories of himself and his family that he left behind. His week-long stay opens wounds with his father and sister that never healed, aggravating Don’s struggle to find love and belonging in his life.
WRITTEN BY YILONG LIU / DIRECTED BY MICHAEL LEIBENLUFT / DRAMATURG GAVEN D. TRINIDAD
NEW YORK PREMIERE / MARCH 31 TO APRIL 20 at NEW OHIO THEATRE
WHAT DO CRITICS SAY
"Written with sensitivity toward all its players, the piece offers a compassionate window into the intersection of Chinese culture, queerness, and gender roles… June is the First Fall is a tight, compact evening of drama.” – Caroline Cao, Exeunt
"[Yilong Liu's] June is the First Fall... memories are scattered throughout this endearing study of culture, family and personal growth... In the relatively small New Ohio Theatre, the creative team has done an excellent job... Well directed by Michael Leibenluft, this story is smoothly paced to unravel this family's secrets and hopes and learnings." – Joe Lombardi, BroadwayWorld
"While many plays deal with issues of race, culture, and sexuality, few weave them all together – and leave the same potent emotional impact – that this play manages to do. Without a doubt, it’s already a strong contender for the best play I’ve seen so far in 2019. If you have the chance to catch it during its final weeks, be sure to do so!” – Anthony Piccione, Onstage Blog
"Compelling... a wonderful slice of life... when David, in a rare attempt to connect with his estranged son, tells Don his true feelings about what it was like for him when his son came out all those years ago, it resonates. You are able to relate because perhaps you, like most people, have felt the disapproval of family members. At the time it stings and you don’t understand. Then, slowly, it dawns on you that the sentiment often comes from a place of love. It even sometimes comes from a place of shame and is not really about you at all." – Tami Shaloum, Round The World Stage
SET DESIGN BY JEAN KIM / COSTUME DESIGN BY AN-LIN DAUBER / LIGHTING DESIGN BY CHA SEE / SOUND DESIGN BY MICHAEL COSTAGLIOLA / CASTING BY WAYNE CHANG
FEATURING: Alton Alburo*, Chun Cho, Stefani Kuo, Fenton Li*, Karsten Otto
*Equity Member appearing with permission of Actors’ Equity Association without benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off Broadway production.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Yilong Liu (Playwright) is a New York-based bilingual playwright, originally from Chongqing, China. Currently, he is a resident playwright at The Flea Theatre and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's OBIE-Award winning playwrights group Youngblood. Awards include Kennedy Center's Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (The Book of Mountains and Seas), Paula Vogel Playwriting Award (June is The First Fall, 2nd place), National Partners of the American Theatre Award for Playwriting, and Po’okela Award for Best New Play (both for Joker). He is an EST/Sloan New Play Commission recipient, a SPACE on Ryder Farm resident, and the Asian Pacific American Friends of The Theatre Playwright Scholarship awardee. His work has been produced or developed at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, East West Players, Queens Theatre, FringeNYC, Union Theatre (London), CAATA, New Ohio Theatre, Kumu Kahua Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and others. Liu completed his MFA studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. http://www.yilongliu.com/
Michael Leibenluft (Director) is an OBIE-Award winning director originally from Chevy Chase, Maryland. His credits include I’ll Never Love Again (a chamber piece) by Clare Barron at the Bushwick Starr (Obie Award for Direction, 2016; NYT and Time Out Critics’ Picks), How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel with Drum Tower West Theater in Beijing, Lost Tribe by Alex Borinsky as part of Target Margin’s Yiddish Theater Lab, The Subtle Body by Megan Campisi at 59E59 Theaters and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, and other projects with LMCC, The Civilians, EST, and NYU/Tisch. Michael has assistant directed at Signature Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic Theatre, P73, and American Theater Company. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, as well as a former Fulbright Fellow, SDCF Kurt Weill Fellow, and Drama League Fall Directing Fellow. Michael graduated from Yale as a double major in Theater Studies and East Asian Studies and completed his Masters in Performance Studies at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. He is the founder of Gung Ho Projects, an educational and cultural exchange platform dedicated to increasing understanding between the U.S. and China. http://www.leibenluft.com
Photography by Maria Baranova