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San Diego Premiere

Dragon Mama

Sept 14 - Oct 15

Written & performed by Sara Porkalob
Directed by Andrew Russell

**Please note we are no longer requiring masks in our theater. Masks are still encouraged to help keep our performers and audience members safe, but they are not required.**

About the Show

“Porkalob is a sensitive, charismatic and chameleon-like actor who can seamlessly transform her voice, line delivery and body language in an instant…” – Pam Kragen, The San Diego Union Tribune 

“This is a show that cuts to the very core of what it means to be human and dances through the complexity that is the lived experience of our neighbors, mothers, and daughters.”- Cassiopeia Guthrie, On The Craft

Maria yearns for a gayer, more diverse life in rural Washington state. When presented with an opportunity to make a quick fortune, she must make an important decision: leave her debt-ridden family and newborn daughter for the wild unknown of Alaska, or stay close to home, family, and intergenerational ghosts. Traversing 25 years, Dragon Mama is a one-woman adventure filled with queer love in a barren land, Filipino family lore, and a dope ’90s R&B soundtrack!

Show Details

Low-Cost Previews: Sept 14 – 22

First Friday for the Military: Sept 15, 8:00PM
Complimentary tickets for active duty and veterans.

GSA/Youth Nights: Sept 15, 8:00PM & Sept 22, 8:00PM
Free tickets for students.

Pre-Show Event Backstage Thursday: Director’s Happy Hour: Sep 21, 6:00pm
Join Dragon Mama Director Andrew Russell and artistic team in the Clark Cabaret for a chance to chat before the show! Pre-show event begins at 6pm, performance at 7pm.

Opening Night: Sept 23, 8:00PM

Dragon Women: A Panel Discussion on Filipina Identity, Feminism, and Activism: Sunday, September 24th at 4pm:
Featuring Dr. Josen Diaz & Dr. Amanda Solomon Amorao

Join us for a panel discussion on Filipina identity, feminism, and activism, immediately following our 2pm matinee of Dragon Mama on Sunday, September 24th, with guest speakers Dr. Josen Diaz (USD) and Dr. Amanda Solomon Amorao (UCSD).

Pre-Show Event Backstage Thursday: Designer Spotlight:  Sept 28, 6:00pm
Join us in Clark Cabaret before the show to meet the Design Team and hear the influences and process involved. A fun pre-show experience! The pre-show event starts at 6:00pm before the 7pm performance

The Women’s Event: Sept 30, 6:00pm (immediately preceding the 8pm performance)
The Women’s Event—a no-cost opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow female-identifying members of our LGBTQIA+ and allied community. Learn about our upcoming season, and stay for a group discount of Dragon Mama later in the evening!* Secure your spot today by simply filling out the online RSVP form here

Filipinx Artist Panel: Oct 1, 4:00PM (immediately following the matinee)
Featuring Kim Heil, Sarah Marie Hernandez, Wilfred Paloma, Jesca Prudencio, Thelma Virata de Castro

Join us for this exciting panel, where local Filipinx artists and activists will talk about their own artistic practices and their personal journeys toward liberation. The event will be moderated by Diversionary’s Artistic Producer Kian Kline-Chilton.

Pay What You Will & Industry Night: Oct 2, 7:00PM

Queer and BIWOC Student Artists Post-Show Discussion : Oct 2, 8:45PM

Are you a BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, or women of color) or queer woman and undergraduate or graduate student? Yes? Then join us for a Dragon Mama viewing and post show discussion facilitated by Cambria Herrera!

This post-show discussion will focus on the power of our voices as young queer or BIPOC women and non-binary artists. Join us to watch the outstanding production created by Sara Porkalob and then debrief through discussion, movement, and writing exercises on the nuances of telling your story at the intersections of family, queerness, gender, and culture. RSVP for the post-show discussion HERE and book your $10 ticket for Dragon Mama on October 2 by using code: SDARTS on our website.

Questions? Please email facilitator

Filipinx Community Night: Oct 5, 5:30 – 7:00 PM 
Join us for a night celebrating Filipinx Culture!

Diversionary is proud to be hosting Filipinx Community Night! Enjoy a celebration of Filipinx culture with in-house entertainment and food! This preshow event will be an opportunity to uplift the Filipinx community through the sharing of stories and performance by local San Diego queer Filipinx community members. The Dragon Mama performance happening immediately after the event is dedicated to these community members as an invitation to experience this piece in community. Folks who identify as Filipinx, Indigenous or BIPOC can get discounted tickets for the October 5th performance of Dragon Mama. Click here to access discounted tickets, and be sure to select the October 5 performance.

Sunday Sessions with Justin Huertas – An Evening of Original Songs: Oct 8, 5:00PM
Featuring Justin Huertas from the hit musical, Lizard Boy 

Join us in the Clark Cabaret for an intimate evening of acoustic original songs from in-demand theater star, Justin Huertas, whose extraordinary musical, Lizard Boy,  had its memorable run here at Diversionary Theatre in 2015. Celebrate his return to Diversionary with an evening of sensational voices and cocktails. Tickets are $20, purchase them here!

Daily: Before and after performances
Come to the show early to enjoy our Clark Cabaret, open one hour before the show time and will remain open after the show.

Sara Porkalob (Sara; she/they): Sara is a creative consultant, artist-activist, and creator of the Dragon Cycle.

Dragon Cycle is a trilogy of plays about her family; one play for each generation built around a central female protagonist. The first in the cycle, Dragon Lady, is the recipient of three 2018 Gregory Awards for: Outstanding Sound/Music Design, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and Outstanding Musical Production. The second in the cycle, Dragon Mama, premiered at American Repertory Theatre (ART) and won Best Original Script and Best Solo Performance for the 2019 Elliot Norton Awards. ART has commissioned the third in the cycle, Dragon Baby; it will premier on their stage in the near future.

Awards and nominations include: 2021 Princess Grace Award Winner for Theater, 2020 nominee Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, Seattle Times 11 Movers and Shakers to Watch this Decade, 2019 nominee for Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, Seattle Magazine’s 2018’s Most Influential People , and 2017 City Art’s Futures List. She is a co-founder of DeConstruct, an online journal of intersectional performance critique. She recently made her Broadway debut playing Edward Rutledge in the official revival of the musical 1776.

She’s a consultant with the City of Seattle and their Creative Strategies Initiative (CSI), a new City effort that uses arts- and culture-based approaches to build racial equity in non-arts policy areas like the environment, housing, workforce and community development.

Sara PorkalobPlaywright
Andrew RussellDirector
Yi-Chien LeeScenic Designer
Erin Bednarz Sound Designer
Eliza VedarAssociate Sound Designer
Jasz BulanCostume Consultant/ Wardrobe Maint.
Annelise SalazarLighting Designer

About the playwright: See Sara Porkalob bio under “Cast.”

We are no longer requiring masks in our theater. Masks are still encouraged to help keep our performers and audience members safe, but they are not required.

NOTE: This policy is subject to change at any moment to reflect changing local, state, and federal regulations. Please return before your scheduled performance date to see our most recent policy.

About Season 38:


Decade Sponsor: Joann Clark

Each story in our season explores the idea of personal freedom, and how this discovery evolves the way we view the world around us in delightful and innovative new ways.

Season 38
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