NERO’s “Suck My Violin.” Lyrics and music video direction by Kyoung H. Park. Performed by Dave Gelles, Claudia Acosta, David Anzuelo, Veracity Butcher, Daniel K. Isaac, Sade Namei, Ryan Opalanietet, Kaila Saunders, Imran Sheikh, and Ishmael Thaahir. Original Music by Helen Yee. Set and Video design by Marie Yokoyama. Sound design by Lawrence Schober. Costume design by Andrew Jordan. Dramaturgy by Jess Applebaum. Assistant Direction by Ishmael Thaahir. Vocal Coaching by Rachel Kodweis.

NERO is a Shakespearean, five-act epic that tells the story of George W. Bush’s Presidency and the War on Terror through the subversive, and anachronistic, theatricalization of the rise and fall of Nero’s Roman Empire. Set in 64 AD in Rome’s Palace of the Frogs, NERO is the story of an artist, a lover, America – a tragicomedy.

Written and directed by Kyoung H. Park
Performed by Dave Gelles, Claudia Acosta, Carolina Do, Yadira De La Riva, Ariel Estrada, Daniel K. Isaac, Ash Mayers, Kaila Saunders, Imran Sheikh, and Ishmael Thaahir

Creative Team
Original Music by Helen Yee
Set, Video and Props design by Yoon Choi
Video Animation design by Marie Yokoyama
Costume design by Andrew Jordan
Stage Management by Isaac Winston
Assistant Direction by Ishmael Thaahir
Community Engagement by Joe Tolbert, Jr.
Dramaturgy by Jess Applebaum
Artistic Advisement by Betsy Theobald Richards

Due to COVID-19, KPB’s 2020-2021 season will be held virtually to fully observe social distancing. We will administer our own online registrations to facilitate digital privacy and safety.

Public Programming

Whiteness on Fire: Abolish the Empire”
Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 7-9pm
RSVP Here via Zoom

After witnessing the recent brutality wrought by US Imperialism in Afghanistan and its ongoing effects internationally and at home, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat continues its work with GAPIMNY – Empowering Queer and Trans APIs, Communities United for Police Reform, The Blasian March and The Exponential Festival to host “Whiteness on Fire: Abolish the Empire” on the UN International Day of Peace.

Whiteness on Fire: Abolish the Empire” will feature a sneak peak of Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s new work-in-progress, NERO, and a long-table conversation to ask:

Where and how do we see militarization at play within our communities? How do we activate our communities to demilitarize America and defund the police? What storytelling is necessary to advance abolitionist work in our community?

Please join us as we collectively explore answers to these urgent questions with:

Eric Lockley
Eric Lockley

Eric Lockley (Producing Artistic Leader, The Movement Theatre Company). Originally from Baltimore, MD, Lockley is an award-winning actor, writer, comedian, producer, and a founder of two Harlem-based organizations: The Movement Theatre Company and Harlem9. With these organizations Eric has produced critically acclaimed productions and festivals, published anthologies of new plays and created initiatives that highlight the complexity and diversity of people of color. The Movement Theatre Company’s digital programming, “1MOVE:DES19NED BY…”, which commissioned 30 designers of color in the midst of quarantine, recently received a Drama League award nomination. And the company’s production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris is presented this Fall at Playwrights Horizons. Eric is a part of the 2022 Devised Theater Working Group and will have a presentation of his Afrofuturistic play Sweet Chariot at the Under The Radar Festival at The Public Theater in January.

Joo-Hyun Kang
Joo-Hyun Kang

Joo-Hyun Kang is the Director of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and executive director of CPR Action (CPR’s sibling c4 political organization). CPR is a multi-strategy, multi-sector campaign to end abusive policing in New York and reduce reliance on policing for community safety. CPR works to build and redefine community safety, strengthens community-based infrastructure to prevent and challenge police violence, and has organized coalitions of 200+ organizations to secure landmark policy and organizing victories in New York. Joo-Hyun joined CPR’s staff with two decades of experience in social justice work as an organizer, trainer, and strategist with racial justice, LGBT rights, gender justice, immigrant rights, and police accountability projects. In prior lives, she has been an acupuncturist; consultant to social change organizations and philanthropies; served as the Astraea Lesbian Foundation’s director of global grantmaking for LGBTI rights; was the first Executive Director of The Audre Lorde Project, where she developed organizing programs for LGBTST communities of color; and has been a member and on the board of various organizing groups.

Jason Wu
Jason Wu

Jason Wu is currently a co-chair for GAPIMNY-Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders, a queer and trans AAPI organization that focuses on community building, political education and mutual aid. Wu is also Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Harlem Community Law Office. Their writing on abolition, intersectionality and social movements has been published in Teen Vogue, Truthout, Refinery 29, Gotham Gazette, NY Daily News, and more.

KPB’s events are free, online and available to our community members. We will center the voices of women of color and our Black allies and welcome white-identified allies to attend to learn, listen and provide support. RSVP by Monday, September 20th at 3pm EST here.

Read KPB’s Primer to Abolition Work here.

Whiteness on Fire: Building Together”
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Following the Atlanta massacre, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat continues its work with GAPIMNY – Empowering Queer and Trans APIs to host a virtual long-table facilitated by Conrhonda E. Baker (Board Member, Sole Defined) and guest speakers Joyce Adewumi (Founder and President, NYC Multicultural Festival), Carolina Dỗ (Asians4Abolition, The Song Collective), Rohan Zhou-Lee (Founder, Blasian March) and Ishmael Thaahir (Assistant Director, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat NERO).

In light of ongoing anti-Black and anti-Asian violence, how can we manifest freedom and liberation in the face of white supremacy? Please join us as we collectively explore answers to this urgent question by making a reservation here.

KPB’s events are free, online and available to community members of our company and partner organizations. We will center the voices of women of color and our Black Allies and welcome white-identified allies to attend to learn, listen and provide support.

Whiteness on Fire: Where Are We Now?”
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, in partnership with GAPIMNY — Empowering Queer and Trans APIs — invites our community members to a sneak peak of NERO and a fishbowl conversation called “Whiteness on Fire: Where Are We Now?” facilitated by Joe Tolbert, Jr.

NERO is a “state of the nation” tragicomedy that invites Black, Indigenous and People of Color to examine how white male supremacy is the root of American Imperialism and how communities of color can take action through grass-roots collective actions to dismantle white supremacist ideology.

Whiteness on Fire: A Cultural Reconstruction”
Monday, October 5, 2020

BIPOC members of our community and our white allies are invited to join us online for an evening of art and social convening. This program features “Suck My Violin,” an original music video produced virtually during this pandemic, followed by an in depth conversation that shifts our current culture forward.

Learn more about NERO
“Fellows Spotlight: Kyoung H. Park”, Hannah Kloepfer, Dramatist Guild Foundation. Sept. 10, 2020.
“Playwright Kyoung H. Park on Peace, Theater and the Artist’s Duty”, Theodore Pavlich, Lambda Literary. May 13, 2019.

Development Credits

NERO received public readings with the Ma-Yi Theater’s Writer’s Lab (February 2015), Sol Project (February 2016), New Ohio Theater’s Producer’s Club (October 2017) and original songs were developed with support of a 2019-2020 Dramatist Guild Fellowship. NERO is currently being developed with support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, MAP Fund, and Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

NERO is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).