PUBLISHED: 5:16 PM on Wednesday, April 20, 2005
'Voyage' gives voice to Filipino history

When artistic director PJ Paparelli came to Perseverance Theater last year, he inherited "The Cannery Project," - an original production that would detail the history of Juneau's Filipino community and the salmon canning industry that brought them here. The project, originally planned for a premiere in 2003, was postponed several times before the resulting musical play "The Long Season," written by Los Angeles-based playwright Chay Yew, opened on March 25 of this year. The play explores the immigration experience of Filipinos as it appears in historical documents, and while Perseverance Theatre is immensely proud of "The Long Season," Paparelli felt it was important to honor the original intent of "The Cannery Project": A play based on interviews with cannery workers and people in the community.

The commitment to that vision resulted in the companion piece "Voyage."

Twenty Filipino Alaskans in Juneau and Anchorage were interviewed, including former Alaska House Rep. Thelma Buccholt, who was the first Filipino American female representative in any state legislature in the country; Ellery Lumbab, founder and artisticdirector of Alitaptap Filipino Dance Troupe, and his son Joshua; Marcelo Quinto, Barbara Cadiente, and Rosita Worl.

The interviews, conducted by Paparelli, Flordelino Lagundino, and Merry Ellefson over the past 6-8 months, resulted in a play about four generations of Filipino Alaskans, written by Ellefson and co-directed by Paparelli and Lagundino.

Ellefson's previous plays at Perseverance include "Bear Tales from The Great Land," Out of the Blue (co-written with Tom Linklater), and "Fishmas." Ellefson was part of Perseverance staff between 1989 and 1997.

The cast includes Bernardo Bernardo, Carolyn Garcia, Joann Valentine Cortez Pelayo and Flordelino Lagundino.

"Voyage" can be seen Friday, April 22 & Saturday, April 23, 7 & 9pm at the Filipino Community Hall, 251 South Franklin, and April 28, 29 and 30 at Perseverance Theatre, also at 7 & 9 pm.

Tickets are pay-as-you can.