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June 29, 2014

The award-winning Fil-Am play “Flipzoids” comes home


The award-winning Fil-Am play “Flipzoids” with outstanding performers Becca Godinez, Ellen D. Williams and Maxwel Corpuz and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera will be held on July 17, 18 and 19, 2014 at the Music Museum, Greenhills San Juan City.

“Flipzoids” tells the tale of three Filipino Americans who search for connections and a shared reality in Orange County, a place where “better” is always up for debate.

Set on a beach in Southern California, “Flipzoids” is a funny and highly moving story about three Filipino immigrants in America navigating through the shifting landscape of home, desire, loneliness and belonging. The play examines what it means to be an outsider, to be Filipino and/or American, to be a hybrid.

Redford (Maxwel S. Corpuz) a young man who arrived from the Philippines as a child with his parents but now lives very much alone and spends his time in public restrooms in search of relationships to fill a void in his identity. Instead, he finds connection through a chance meeting with Aying, an older Filipina on a beach. It is through Aying that Redford discovers his culture. 

Aying’s daughter, Vangi/Evangelina (Ellen D. Williams) , is a nurse who holds all of American culture in a tight embrace and who diligently memorizes the dictionary to sound smarter - more American. She is in awe of the glamour of upscale shopping malls and wants so badly to blend in…to “melt into the soup,” in an attempt to forget about her past in the Philippines. 

Then there’s her mother, Aying (Becca Godinez), struggles with understanding a daughter to whom she has become an embarrassment. Aying, fresh off the boat and not buying any of it. Aying refuses to relinquish any of the culture and tradition of their homeland. Instead, she becomes a story teller.  She tells stories of her homeland and clings to traditions and rituals that make her feel like she belongs someplace, laughs heartily and cares deeply while imparting bits of wisdom through her folk tales. 

Aying is the link between Vangie and Redford and their shared cultural memory. Together, they search to understand their identity in their new American world.

FLIPZOIDS received its world premiere on October 4, 1996 by Ma-Yi Theater Company, Ralph B. Peña, Artistic Director, Jorge Z. Ortoll, Executive Director. 

Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, Artistic Director for Playwrights’ Arena in Hollywood, CA. This this lyrical, highly theatrical work is brought to life by a trio of outstanding performers : 
Becca Godinez, Ellen D. Williams and Maxwel Corpuz.

Becca Godinez is a seasoned singer, songwriter, director and actress. Her career has taken her through numerous musical avenues, from country to musical theatre and everything else in between.

Becca has produced several concerts tackling a gamut of responsibilities from director, set and lighting designer, and artist. Her efforts won for her a “Performer of the Year” award bestowed upon her by a committee of Asian/American media, business and entertainment members.

After numerous appearances across countries, Becca ached for rest, anonymity and introspection, and turned away from public life. Once in a while she lent her talent to meaningful projects, but mostly, she remained quiet. Ever the artist though, she was unable to stay away from her need to create and returned to songwriting.

2012 was a comeback year. Becca sang at Dodger Stadium, performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the “Jazzmopolitan” concert held at the Ford Amphitheatre. After a 31 year hiatus, Becca’s portrayal of Aying in “Flipzoids”.
Becca Godinez during the media conference held at the Amici Restaurant, Greenhills San Juan, June 27, 2014 (Photo:myrns@roman))

Becca was cast as the lead in “Flipzoids” a dramedy in Los Angeles for which she gained rave reviews. She auditioned for the role not knowing how she would do since it had been 30 years since her last with Repertory Philippines. Five months after that audition, she received a call to say that she landed the lead and went on to perform the role of Aying, a 72-year old woman of amazing substance. She was onstage at the Los Angeles Theatre Center during the entire month of October in 2012. The bug bit and it bit hard. “I didn’t think that I would ever return to the theatre”, she said. Today, as a result of that 2012 experience onstage, Becca is wearing a new hat – that of theatrical producer. 

On July 17, 18 and 19th, Becca will be producing in Manila, the play, “Flipzoids” at the Music Museum in Greenhills. She is bringing to the stage the original actors and the director from the Los Angeles production. Asked why she chose this as her first project, she said that the award-winning play, written by a FilAm, Ralph B. Pena – is a great story that needs to be seen and experienced by all Filipinos. This is a laugh out loud, cry in pain, know our culture kind of experience and she is honored to produce it. It is her hope that many will come to delight in the experience and enjoy the production.

Becca recognizes that God is the source of all blessings – and she finds true peace in giving back to God what He so bountifully gives to her. Wherever the journey takes her, she is grateful for everything that she has been able to give and to receive. Onward the journey goes.

ELLEN D. WILLIAMS

Originally from Los Angeles, Ellen D. Williams has been seen on both the stage and screen in the US. She is best known for her role as Patrice on the hit TV show HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. 

She was first seen professionally in Boston, Massachusetts with Massachusetts Rep’s MOBY DICK: A WHALE OF A TALE where she worked with world renowned producer, Cameron Mackintosh. Her favorite stage role has been playing Fil-Am character “Ruby” in RUBY, TRAGICALLY ROTUND written by Fil-Am playwright Boni B. Alvarez. For that role she received a Los Angeles Weekly nomination for Best Actress. She also has played Fil-Am character Farrah Legazpi in two other Alvarez plays, DUSTY DE LOS SANTOS and BLOODLETTING. 

Ellen has loved the opportunities to play strong Filipino characters. Other favorite regional roles include IXNAY at East West Players, THE BOOK OF LIZ at The Garage Theatre, THE ENLIGHTENMENT at The Carpenter Center and THROWING RUBIES at the Stella Adler Theatre. She has also toured throughout the Northwest and West Coast regions of the US doing educational theatre with such companies as the GAP Theatre Company and South Coast Rep. 

She is a proud member of the American talent unions – Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA. 


MAXWEL CORPUZ

Maxwel S. Corpuz plays Redford in the Flipzoids.
Born and raised in agrestic Santa Maria, California, Maxwel Corpuz began performing in the theatre in high school. He later graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Musical Theatre. 

Soon Maxwel found himself performing in large-scale arena industrials such as opening for The Steve Miller Band then opening for EARTH, WIND, and FIRE, both at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. He has also performed in plays and musicals in intimate professional theaters. Roles include Barfee in The 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (NTAC), Thuy in Miss Saigon (Little Theatre), Mrs. Taylor in Batboy (Young Theatre), Man 1/2 in Songs for a New World (GCAC). 

In affiliation with Ensemble Studio Theatre, he spent a summer training with preeminent theatre educators in New York City as a participant in the New York Theatre Intensives. There he learned how to direct and write for the stage while continuing to train in acting. When he left the New York experience, he carried with him his first NYC acting credits and soon after became a published writer. 

Of late, Maxwel has embarked on a new path – one that has taken him towards directing and dance. He led a workshop that he later directed. This new play by Emirick Haro, entitled, “I Am Different” was produced and presented in the Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. His latest project was in affiliation with Broadway Barkada, an organization of Fil-Am theatre professionals in New York City, Maxwel was featured in a dance concert that was performed at the prestigious, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. 

Returning to his role as Redford in FLIPZOIDS, and to be able to perform it in Manila is a dream come true. This will be Maxwel’s first trip to the motherland! Being able to tell this American story with Filipino roots will really hit home.

JON LAWRENCE RIVERA

Jon Lawrence River is the artistic director and co-founder of Playwrights’ Arena in Hollywood, CA.

The Arena is dedicated to discovering, nurturing and producing bold new works for the stage written exclusively by Los Angeles playwrights. 

Local playwrights are encouraged to create original, adventurous, daring materials with the intent of challenging the mind, touching the heart and provoking the spirit. New material is developed through several series of readings, workshops and round table discussions.

AWARDED:
“LA NEW PLAY IMPRESARIO OF THE YEAR”
La Stage Times, Dec 2010
“HELEN”

“Rivera’s production swerves…between consequences-of-war pathos and high comedy, usually defaulting to the latter.” - BACK STAGE

“This is the most interesting Getty Villa production since…Aristophanes’ Peace in 2009. Both Peace and Helen had their roots in LA artists, which perhaps helped tailor the material more precisely to LA audiences. Also both of these plays have been seldom seen in other versions. – LA STAGE TIMES.

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