The Raising of a Colonized Child
This is my newest play works and one of my most vulnerable and challenging yet. "Altar: The Raising of a Colonized Child" is a multi-media play that pays homage to the relearning of spiritual practice by women, who were born in the US and have ancestral backgrounds that make them indigenous to another land territory. The play uplifts stories of people who have upheld spiritual practices crucial to survival in the face of oppression and the cultural erasure of migrant peoples and tells these truths through the raising of a child by her grandmother.
"Altar: The Raising of a Colonized Child" is a multi-media play using the core disciplines of Physical Theatre, Choreopoetry, and Pilipino Cultural Arts supplemented with animation and projection media. "Altar" integrates ancestral cultural arts practices with current technologies and advancements in media expression, enhancing the way stories are told and senses are stimulated for performer and audience.
For the past 2 years I have been developing the conception and writing for "Altár," by investing in engagement of dialogue and guidance from my living elders within my bloodline, and also teachers of cultural and spiritual practice from the Philippines who I have developed relationships with throughout the past 7 years of living and working in New York City. In 2017 I have invested plans to deepen my spiritual and artistic work by taking on apprenticeships that will continue my learning of ceremony through cultural movement, dance practices and prayer in the language and tradition of my people. My individual learning and exploration is core to the expressive development of my work, and these investments have and will continue to help enhance the completion of "Altár." In tandem I plan to cultivate community workshops focused on storytelling and creation circles for uncovering similar experiences from those who have been on a like journey of relearning the cultural and spiritual practices that were lost to them being born in the US. I want to understand the common processes of remembering spiritual practices that have been fragmented and erased and how the survival of beliefs is crucial to survival of migrant peoples. The dialogue and performance work created in these gatherings will seek to inform and enhance the play development. In this residency I will also trial the animation and projection media storytelling envisioned for "Altár".
The audience for Altár is intergenerational and multi-ethnic, primarily women and young girls from all diasporic communities, but inclusive of all, as we have so much to learn in the upholding of the women in our communities and what they have preserved of our cultures and our peoples throughout time. Their stories bring us back to the roots of our interconnectedness with one another. I want to share with audiences what I have discovered in my explorations of how our ancestral roots transcend time and geographical location. I want to elevate the understanding of how this has persisted because of future generations who still wish to know and those of our elders who have continued, despite colonization and imperialism, to teach us, to grow us, and to remember who we are. I want there to be intergenerational dialogue around the importance of cultural preservation, decolonization in thinking, in practice and living, and respect for ourselves and each other in our processes of knowing who we are.
The Journey of a Brown Girl (JoBG) is an Experimental Theatre Movement, that seeks to use the power of narrative and storytelling to engage audiences in deep reflection around the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit through the lens of the Filipina experience. This is a story, that speaks to diverse communities on empowerment of self and community, inspiring audiences and performers to look deep within themselves for truth beyond Master’s Narratives- to speak on their own stories of becoming.
The work has been developed through engaging the voices of Filipina Leaders and Elders in the Filipino-American community including DJ Kuttin Kandi, Krishtine DeLeon aka Rocky Rivera, Leny Strobel (The Center for Babaylan Studies), Alleluia Panis (KulArts, San Francisco) and Allyson Tintiangco- Cubales (Pilipino Education Program), and integrating artistic expression and dialogue developed from workshops with Filipina Youth and Wom*n in sisterhood around self inquiry, discovery and healing.
The Journey of a Brown Girl is a physical theatre and multimedia production that intertwines spiritual ritual and practice- connected to Filipino Culture with traditional theatre practice. Development of movement in this piece is connected to meditative exploration of each individual performers body and motion and encour- ages each wom*n to discover the connection to their physical movement to mind, spirit and ancestry. Excercises are inspired by techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed, Commedia dell’arte, and activities developed by Jana Lynne Umipig from her For the Movement Theatre curricula developed while working across New York city at detention, rehabiliation, community and cultural arts programs and centers.
As important as the arts is to this piece, what truly makes this a movement is the way in which it activates the human spirit for both the performers and audiences. Performers engage in deep self-inquiry through empow- erment work and exposure to texts and media connected to Filipino ancestry and history creating a decolonizing ad indiginizing process for all performers. And this practice is shared through community workshops.
Since its inception in 2010, The Journey of a Brown Girl has travelled across country performed in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Los Angeles and and made its International Premiere in Toronto, Canada. Currently the work is being workshoped to travel to universities as a residency program that seeks to empower Pinay in High School and University Settings.
"Raised Pinay" is a community-centered benefit production that supports the efforts of Roots of Health, a 501c3 non-profit organization providing free reproductive clinical and educational services to womxn and girls in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
The work of "Raised Pinay" brings participants through a creative writing/ decolonization and ancestral re-membrance school of thought / devised theatre process that allows the cast to create a process of telling their own personal stories of being raised a Pinay/Pilipina/ Pilipinx/ Indigenous Womxn of the Philippine Arkipelago.
Through original story submissions, an all-pinay cast will perform stories of Pinayhood that have formed our identity. The process brings together a group of intergenerational pinays who want to share unique and powerful stories to collaborate, relate to each other’s struggles, celebrate these experiences, and share them with the NYC community.
OTHER NOTABLE THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS DIRECTED and WRITTEN
The For the Movement Theatre Collective
A traveling collective of high school youth who have trained with JL at El Puente for 2-4 years of development asTheatre Artist/Activist who produce adapted and original works that speak to the experiences of Youth of Color in the United States.
Original Collective Created Scripts:
Direct Action: Theatre as Our Necessary Means (in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter)
Guidelines: A Play About Growing Up
#RiseUp: Make Change,
Hands Up, Don't Shoot
The Process of Becoming
My Skin Color is Not a Crime (A play on Anti-Racist practices of the Police)
Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of,
Open Eyes: A Tribute to Trayvon Martin
The People’s History of Los Sures
The Root: A Play Examining Money as the Center of Power Struggle
Little Shop of Horrors
El Puente Annual 3 Kings Original Production
The largest event of the 32 year old social justice, arts and community organizing organization El Puente in Brooklyn, NY. This event brings together all of El Puente's Leadership Center arts facilitators, community organizers and youth and adult members together around an original written, produced and directed theatrical works that speaks to a community issue that is being focused on by the organization. This tradition has been produced for the past 29 years and Jana Lynne Umipig has taken the role as writer and Artistic Director from 2012-2017.
Imagina un Lugar (Imagine a Place) 
La Luz (Racial Injustice and Black Lives Matter) 
El Granito de Esperanza (Climate Change) 
Dos Tierras Una Cancion (Immigrant Experience) 
Pa’lante Place (Gentrification) 
The Journey to Unisol (In reflection of the Occupy Wall St movement) 
Catalyst 2050 Legacy uses dance, step, live music and media to explore themes of fear, power and control as they navigate through the end of society to propel humanity forward to a new world. Follow the journey of six strangers who find themselves in the end of days, playing out the ways in which individuals encounter power, the feeling of powerlessness and how we as people deal with fear. The themes of Catalyst are built upon personal experiences and reactions to issues of violence, police brutality and economic disparity.
In rehearsal process I have continued to work with the conceptions of Theatre as Spiritual Practice and For the Movement Theatre work that are embeded in my Theatre Pedagogy and directional intention. Recently the group took a trip to the Yucatán in Mexico and delved deeper in to spiritual and energy work with the Mayan communities Arte Maya Raxalaj Mayab' and the Uh May Village where we were able to examine our humanity as a collective and the connection to divine spirit that pulls us on our paths of existence. More reflection of this trip and the way it elevated our sacred work can be found on my blog.
Other Directed Productions
2050 Legacy: Customs The Tank NYC Residency (March 2016)
2050 Legacy: Catalyst Hampshire College Fringe NYC 2016
Weepy Eyes Production Presents: Charles Mee's BIG LOVE Williamsburg, NYC
Danny: A 9/11 Story El Puente
Culture Shock: Gender Violence The Brecht Forum (NYC)
Talk Story and Other Plays from Filipino Authors UC Irvine, Cross Cultural Center