Theatre KAPOW
train. explore. challenge. inspire. create.

The past never returns, what returns is not the past,  but a present that has distant roots.
Luigina Sgarro


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Expanding the Canon 2

Join the Circletheatre KAPOW launched Expanding the Canon: a play reading circle in January 2021 to expand our familiarity with the works of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and global majority playwrights. We simply must do the work to change "the canon." Becoming familiar with these works is one small thing that we can do to move toward the equity we want to see in the world. A guest dramaturg will curate a list of plays the circle will read and come together to discuss. In the first circle, we focused on works by contemporary Black playwrights.

Deanna MyersIn the second season, Deanna Myers will lead the circle in a study of works by contemporary Asian American playwrights. Deanna is a Chicago and London based actor, writer and educator who has traveled the U.S. to facilitate conversations about equity and social justice. She has worked with Catharsis productions, hosted for the International AIDS Society’s World AIDS day conference, and has spoken on panels on equity for The United States Foundation for the Children of Haiti, Our Perspectives Theatre Company, and Aloft Circus Arts for racial equity in the arts. Deanna is a frequent storyteller with Second Story Chicago, and is currently a lecturer at the University of Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern University. Selected acting appearances include: Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The House Theatre, About Face Theatre, The Hypocrites and Writers Theatre.

Deanna has chosen five plays that span styles, subject matter, moments in history, and scope. The playwrights themselves come from all over the Asian diaspora- from Vietnam to South Asia, to Korea and China- and from a variety of marginalized identities. Though they cannot possibly adequately cover the entirety of the Asian American experience, they are wonderful samples of the incredible diversity within a community that is often made into a monolith. Deanna’s essential question, particularly in response to the rise in civil unrest of the past year, is “What does an American look like?” Americans are so often educated to assume that our country is full of citizens who match a specific prototype, and that this prototype is the “neutral starting point” of the American experience, while any other experience is an anomaly. Through reading and discussing these plays participants might move closer to a more universal starting point: when we think of the word “American,” we include as many faces, bodies, and experiences in as wide a scope as possible.

Participation is free and the circle will meet over Zoom. Participants are strongly encouraged to purchase copies of the plays on the list below to support these playwrights. The underlined titles are clickable links to purchase. tKAPOW will purchase and make available a limited number of each play so that expense need not be a barrier to participation.

Deanna will provide a dramaturgical packet for each of the five plays as a resource for reading, study, and conversation.

Reading and Discussion Schedule
Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 2 pm: The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh
Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 2 pm: Vietgone by Qui Nguyen
Sunday, November 14, 2021, at 2 pm: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Patmatmat
Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 2 pm: King of the Yees by Lauren Yee
Sunday, January 9, 2022, at 2 pm: House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar (the new script is under revision and will be made available as a pdf)

NH Humanities

This project was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

Expanding the Canon 1