Fil Am actor Paterno, center, plays multiple roles including a corrupt headmaster made to kiss the rear of persons he wronged.
Text by PNews Contributor Louinn Lota
Photo by Lydia V. Solis
(Part 1 of 2)
INGLEWOOD, CA. – Audience members walked with a cast of 14 actors, actresses and a violinist as they strutted, marched and danced through Edward Vincent Jr. Park here, in the first installment of a four-act play based on the 18th-century Chinese novel “Dream of the Red Chamber.”
In a nice natural green-setting kick-off to Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, Filipino American actor Robert Paterno, a Houston, Texas transplant to Los Angeles, played a corrupt headmaster at an all-boys’ school made to lick the boots and kiss the rear of the persons he wronged. It was just one of multiple roles by Paterno, born in the United States, but whose parents are from Davao City, Philippines. Paterno also plays a Taoist priest in Act I of the traveling-stage play.
“I think this is a really epic and relatable story and we have such a wonderful opportunity to tell it with a group of actors that really represents the diversity of Los Angeles,” Paterno said. The actor also has had recurring roles on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” and “Vampire Diaries.”
The 18th century “rom-com,” by Ts’ao Hsueh Ch’in, is a moral fable of manners between two cousins who were born, not with silver spoons in their mouths, but jade pendants. It weaves supernatural entities who appear in dreams, and it details the decline of the once-noble Chia family during the Ching Dynasty.
Playwright and Director Henry Ong adapted the comedic romance into the four-act, six-hour play, “Why Dream in Inglewood?” as part of the Inglewood Growing Artists Performed Projects Initiative Artist’s Grant awarded to Ong. Violinist Longo Chu added live music to the performance on-the-move. Chu had to carry his instrument and music stand as the actors turned green lawns into palaces and schools and surreal rooms filled with magical happenings.
“I am excited to finally work with Henry Ong,” Paterno added. Paterno, who received his bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M, was also a Forensic Science teacher with Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth.
Acts I-II, the first installment of “Why Dream in Inglewood,” with a lunchtime intermission, will next pick up the story on Saturday, May 20, with Acts III-IV. On Saturday, May 27, the classic story of star-crossed lovers will have a marathon show of Acts I-IV, with three intermissions outdoors at the Inglewood Amphitheatre, Edward Vincent Jr. Park, 714 Warren Lane, Inglewood.
“Telling stories that bridge cultures and communities is so important, and we can’t wait to share this experience with the Inglewood community,” said Paterno, who earned his MFA from Southern Methodist University in Texas.
“It’s free admission,” said Ong. “Wear comfortable shoes, for walking with the traveling cast and bring brown bag lunch. For more information: Inglewood Parks and Recreation (310) 412-8750.
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