writer ・ translator ・ theater maker

Works in Progress

- Forthcoming series of articles for Atlas Obscura on hidden gems of New Orleans

- Brand new documentary theater project with Jody Christopherson


Looking for Absence

The story goes, in my family, I’m a bad driver. This narrative is not unfounded — as a teenager, learning to drive, I had a series of slips-ups in a short number of years. Rear-ending our high school’s Chinese teacher when I skidded on black ice pulling up to a stop sign. Clipping a startled deer’s hoof in the dim-dark of the early morning, on my way to school. Sliding off our driveway into a snowy ditch, requiring the whole family’s help to push the car back out.

Sam Caruso Is Forging a New Path With French-Style Custard in New Orleans

Salvatore “Sam” Caruso started making ice cream at home in 2018 with a two-quart Cuisinart machine, but he could never get the texture right. Despite his best efforts, it was always too icy, not smooth enough for his taste. Then, as the world shut down in March 2020, Caruso found himself with ample free time after being let go from his job. He used a serendipitous tax return check to buy a higher-quality ice cream machine for $1,300 and started experimenting.

Black Southern Playwrights Take Center Stage

The interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic gave way to a time of reckoning for theatre and theatremakers. As we collectively emerge from the pandemic’s crucible, let me present a beacon of hope for what theatre in the United States can be, at its best: “adaptable, emergent, sustainable, and well.” I am quoting Lauren E. Turner (she/her), the founder and producing artistic director of New Orleans-based theatre company No Dream Deferred and the We Will Dream: New Works Festival.

Eva Doumbia and Chef Alexandre Bella Ola Interviewed

I first met Eva Doumbia while she was on a research trip to New Orleans. I was enthralled by her explanation of the show she was creating which used elements of documentary theater and religious ceremony to address food history, its connections to the transatlantic slave trade, and colonialism. I was honored when she asked me to translate the show from French into English and produce its United States tour.

From Awareness to Action: Facilitating Change in the American Theatre

Amelia: We’ve seen radical transformation! That keeps me going. To break it down for people who might not be familiar with our terminology, we are doing anti-racist work, which is assuming a context of white body supremacy culture, yet it’s not just about race. The collective liberation we are steering organizations towards is not about “diversity and inclusion” and filling a quota of how many global majority people you’ve hired at your organization.

The Shows That Got Away and/or Found a Way

One of the most important jobs of theatre journalism—some would say its central, even only, job—is to bear witness to and commemorate a fundamentally ephemeral medium in words and pictures. That’s plenty true in normal times, but this documentary mission has become especially urgent in a time of deep uncertainty and constant reshuffling due to an airborne virus, which has disproportionally encroached on art forms and social practices that rely on appointment gathering and shared (indoor) space.
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Food Origins & Evolution

The way we eat and talk about food is linked to our individual and collective identities. On this week's show, we look at the origins of some of our favorite foods and common misconceptions about them. We meet playwright and stage director Eva Doumbia. Her performance piece, Autophagies (Self-Eaters), which was performed in New Orleans in March, explores food history, its colonial legacies, and human cost. Eva joined us in our studio, along with interpreter Amelia Parenteau.


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