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FILIPINO-AMERICAN DIRECTOR
JEFFREY LO

JEFFREY LO 
Talks with Iride Aparicio

PALO ALTO, CA –  A few days before directing the Palo Alto Players’  production of SARAH RUHL’s play EURYDICE,  that will open at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, on January 15th, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL had the opportunity to  interview its Director JEFFEY LO.  The young multi-Awards-winning Director, is the recipient of the 2014 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award,  the 2012 Emerging Artist Laureate Award given by the Arts Council Silicon Valley and as director, the "TITAN Director’s Award" from Theatre Bay Area (TBA).

During our interview, LO, who is a Playwright and one of the few directors from the Philipines working in the Bay Area, describes his current title as “the Director of  EURYDICE, the production of Palo Alto Players,”  The son of parents born in the Philippines, JEFFREY LO is a Filipino-American born and raised in San Jose, California, where he attended Evergreen Valley High School, before moving to Southern California where he attended U.C Irvine and got a degree in both Theatre and Journalism. He specialized in both, Playwriting and Directing.

CWB:  What attracted him to theatre?

LO:  “I have always loved writing so I wanted to be a journalist,  but in school, I found myself in a theatre class as a requirement, and once I was given the opportunity to write and direct my own play as a young artist, I found a voice and a power that I have never had before. After given the opportunity to connect the community to theatre, I found that I had also the opportunity to create a great sense of understanding among people, through the power of story-telling in the theater.

CWB: Did you work as an actor before you started directing?

LO: No. I only acted when I was in High School. After graduation, when I returned to San José, I worked briefly as a free-lance writer for different magazines, but after being hired as Assistant Director by  LESLIE MARTINSON the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Works, I was able to find many opportunities to network and prove my craft until I was given the opportunity to direct a play."

 Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions Photo Courtesy:LO
Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions Photo Courtesy:LO

LO has worked with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Works, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and City Lights Theatre Company, and has directed  Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions,and The Drunken City at Renegade. His next director’s job will be directing EURYDICE  at Palo Alto Players, (PAP) this month.

The director describes PAP’s  EURYDICE “ as “A contemporary take on the classical Eurydice written by EURIPIDES (480 BC -406 BC) who was one of the three great tragedians from the Classical Athens, Greece. “RUHL’s  play focuses on Orpheus’ wife” he says “who had died, and to rescue her Orpheus has to travel to the underworld. In the underworld and through her own journey, Eurydice has a meeting with her father, so the play, explores several themes: love, losing a parent, and losing somebody you loved in your life for a second time.”

SARA MOSER as Eurydice
SARA MOSER as Eurydice (Pictured left)
Photographer: Joyce Goldschmid

C.W.B. I believe that you have read also the EURIPIDES’ story, so what were your difficulties in directing this new version of the  play?

LO: “I think that what was harder for me was trying to see what information could we get from the original story, and how that information translated into our version of the play. I knew that we really did not have to keep the original story, because we approached “this play” assuming that many, among our audience members, did not know the (original) story. So, in this play we are not retelling them that story. Our story is a new story based on the Greek Myth, so we have to dissect the original story and see what parts of the original story were useful to the story we wanted to tell. “

C.W.B.  As Director, how do you see the character of Orpheus?

LO: “Myself and the actor who is going to play the role went to college together so when he got the part I felt very comfortable to work with him. To me it all starts with Orpheus’ love for music (According to Greek mythology, Orpheus was a musician, a singer, a poet and a prophet who was able to charm all things, including rocks, with his music.) and his music is what basically caused all the wars. I could also say, that everything that happens to him was because of his passion because of his great love for life and people. That  is how I approached his intentions.”

 C.W.B. Does your play have music?

LO: “Yes.  We have some beautiful music and wonderful singers

C.W.B  How are you going to approach the role of Eurydice?

LO: “Eurydice’s (motivation)  comes from a place of great wonder and also from love. What makes Eurydice journey so difficult is the fact that she loves both Orpheus and her father so much, but because of the (wills of the) gods, she can no longer be in the same place with both of them. So, most of her journey is basically to learn how to grow up.  Here the play becomes a coming-of-age story in her real “unique world” in which she has to decide with who she wants to live her life.”

Talking about the production LO adds:

“As a play “EURYDICE” has beautiful visuals, poetry and language. And it explores the feelings that we all go through in our lives. It is a play about love but also explores how to adjust our lives to leave things behind, which we are comfortable with, and to go into parts our lives that are scary. EURYDICE is a play that will help our audience, experience together, all the journeys that we, as human beings go through in life."

EURYDICE will run from January 16 to February 1st 2015, at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. To order tickets you can call (650) 363-8583 or online at www.PAplayers.org