September 6th, 2018


Nomad Motel – a fresh, coming of age comedy-drama about an American and a Chinese family whose lives are unexpectedly linked – makes its Southern debut as the finale of Horizon Theatre Company’s “New American Dreams Series” this fall. 

Nomad Motel is a funny and poignant tale of motel kids and parachute kids raising themselves and making something out of nothing in the land of plenty.    Alix lives with her family in a tiny motel room, caring for her brothers while her newly single mom figures out a plan.  Her Chinese classmate, Mason, lives alone in a grand, empty house, composing music and dodging child services and immigration while his absent father runs jobs for the Hong Kong mafia.   Then suddenly, his father and source of funds disappear, and Alix shows up at his front door without a home.  An unlikely friendship is born as they learn to scrape by without giving up on their dreams.

Both tough and tender, this is a story that will resonate with every parent and grandparent who has struggled through the trials of raising kids,” explains Co-Artistic Director Lisa Adler, “and every teen who is facing the fear and anticipation of adulthood.   This intercultural tale of two determined teens and their parents looks at the New American Dream through the eyes of the next generation.   It’s an epic story with live music onstage and even a surprising fight scene.”

Nomad Motel was first produced earlier this year at City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh) and will continue later this season with productions at Kansas City’s Unicorn Theatre and Off-Broadway’s Atlantic TheatrePittsburgh in the Round says, “Nomad Motel brilliantly depicts the intersection between two groups of young adults [“Parachute Kids” & “Motel Kids”]… who find themselves interconnected in ways that profoundly alter and unify them.”  Theatre and television writer Carla Ching takes Atlanta by storm this month with her plays running concurrently at two of Atlanta’s premiere professional theatres.  While Horizon is playing Ching’s Nomad Motel intown, her play The Two Kids Who Blow Sh*t Up is also showing at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville through September.



“I write to tell the stories of people I know who may not have made it to stage yet,” explains Carla Ching.  “Asian American characters that aren’t the stock characters you’ve seen before — the goofy neighbor, the nerdy scientist, the tech guy. But who have layers, regrets, pasts, hopes and enormous dreams for the future.”  Her plays focus on broad questions such as “Why are parents so hard on their kids?” and “Why are we so mean to the people we love?”  Of Nomad Motel, she says, “I think a lot of what we’re trying to do here, too, is about home, about trying to find family when your own family isn’t around or is dysfunctional or is breaking apart. It’s about trying to find love when you are alone.”

Nomad Motel was a South Coast Repertory Time Warner CrossRoads Commission, and was developed by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Contest, the National New Play Network Showcase of New Plays, Atlantic Theatre Company’s Mixfest and City Theatre Company.   Her play Fast Company (South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lyric Stage and Pork Filled Productions; winner of the Edgerton New American Play Award) is published by Samuel French.   She is the former Artistic Director of Asian American Theater Company, 2g.   On television, Carla has written for USA’s “Graceland”; AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” Amazon’s “I Love Dick,” and is currently working on the forthcoming Hulu drama “The First” from Beau Willimon and AMC’s “Preacher.” www.carlaching.com  @carlaching



Horizon’s production is helmed by Atlanta director Melissa Foulger whose work has been seen on many Atlanta stages, including Clybourne Park at Aurora Theatre, Boy at Theatrical Outfit and The Flower Room at Actor’s Express.  The production features Kevin Qian as Mason, a recent graduate of the Actor’s Express intern program and former GA Tech student of director Melissa Foulger.   Alix is played by Ashley Anderson, who has worked at theatres across Atlanta since she debuted here with her acclaimed work in Ada and the Memory Engine at Essential Theatre last season.  Alix’s beleaguered mom Fiona is created by Liza Jaine who has been seen as iconic mothers in Tuck Everlasting at the Alliance and Mary Poppins at the Aurora Theatre.   Hailing from Chicago is Wai Yim who takes on the role of James, Mason’s tough father who parents long distance from Hong Kong.  Wai has been seen on many premiere Chicago stages including the Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.   Finally, Oscar, Alix’s teen friend who takes her in, is played by Marcellis Cutler, recently seen as the lead in Breath and Imagination at ART Station.

The tiny motel/large house split stage set will be created by Horizon’s Suzi-Award-winning resident designers Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay with lights by resident designer Mary Parker.  Original music compositions that Mason creates onstage with electric violin and keyboard are by Okorie Johnson and Kevin Qian.  Fight director David Sterritt creates a high energy fight sequence.  Sound, costumes and props are by Horizon regulars Thom Jenkins (How to Use A Knife), Nyrobi Moss (How Black Mothers Say I Love You, Blackberry Daze), and Kathryn Muse (Freaky Friday, How Black Mothers Say I Love You).