‘The Blade of Jealousy’

Playwright Henry Ongwith the cast of ‘The Blade of Jealousy’ (FB)

A tale of deceit and deception

Henry with Pinoy Stories alums

SHERMAN OAKS, CA –‘The Blade of Jealousy’ is a stage play that modernizes a 16th century Spanish Catholic monk’s tale of deceit and deception.

Tirso de Molina (1579-1648), a Spanish Roman Catholic monk writing plays during the Golden Age of Spanish literature, invented Don Juan in the tragedy ‘El Burlador de Sevilla’ (The Seducer of Seville). Playwright Henry Ong wrote ‘The Blade of Jealousy’ inspired by de Molina’s ‘La Celosa de Si Misma’ (Jealous of Herself).

A diverse cast and lively dialog brings two rubes (Eddie Mui and Terry Woodberry) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the media mecca of Los Angeles in the path of visa-seeking personal assistants, reality TV wannabees and the main love interest, Magdalena (Natalie Amenula), who just started her own burka fashion line and impressed the wrong guy, Melchor (Terry), who was supposed to become the real, non-burka-wearing Magdalena’s kept husband.

Just think of it as a wacky telenovela, where everyone is falling in love with the wrong person, that takes place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, an expensive Westside loft, and areas somewhere near Hollywood and Vine. At 90 minutes without an intermission, the set changes from scene to scene and takes place through the projection-screen magic of video designer Diana Cignoni and lighting designer Derrick McDaniel. Also, sound designer Longo Chu plays his violin, cello and keyboard to create transitions from mirth to even more comedic chaos. Others in the cast are: Cynthia Dane, Juan Haro, and Carla Valina.

Directed by Denise Blasor, ‘The Blade of Jealousy’ran from June 24 to Aug. 26, at the Whitefire Theatre, in association with Artists Against Oppression in Sherman Oaks, five miles away from NoHo, or, as we measure everything in L.A., ‘16 minutes in heavy traffic.’

Henry Ong is an internationally produced playwright whose works have been produced at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego; Singapore Repertory Theatre; Latchmere Theatre, London; Queens Theatre in the Park, NY; Bailiwick Theatre, Chicago; Grove Theater Center, Los Angeles; and Company of Angels, Los Angeles, among others.  A multi-awardee for excellence in writing, Henry is a 16-time recipient of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence grants.

He has worked on many oral history projects in several underserved communities like the Asian American, resulting in presentation of stories not often portrayed in mainstream media. These include Chinese American Stories, Thai American Stories, Sikh American Stories, andPinoy Stories, featuring artists Dulce Capadocia, Gio Ortega, mother/daughter Shatto and Marjorie Light, andR.A. Mendoza at the Eagle Rock City Hall in 2006.

From 2001-2006, he wrote youth plays produced by L.A.’s Marlton School, including ‘The Marriage of Bolak Sonday,’ a Filipino folktale.  In 2010, Henry wrotethe full-length play ‘Fabric’ with FilAm Jennifer Paz (Kim in Miss Saigon, 1st U.S. National Tour, where she received the Carbonell Award of the South Florida Critics Circle for best actress.)

Last year, Henry featured FilAm Robert Paterno, a Houston, TX, transplant to Los Angeles, in a four-act play based on the 18th century Chinese novel ‘Dream of the Red Chamber.’ The play was staged at the Edward Vincent Jr. Park in Inglewood, CA, on April 22 (Acts I & II), May 20 (Acts III & IV) and a marathon of the four acts on May 27, 2017.

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