As a playwright, he wrote The Butterfly of Chula Vista, commissioned by San Diego Rep while East West Players has commissioned Ortega to write Sama Sama: Solidarity in the Fields, Criers for Hire and Allos - the Story of Carlos Bulosan. Sama Sama will go on an educational tour in March 2023. Criers for Hire became the highest grossing world premiere play for East West Players Theater and ALLOS has been performed in Singapore, Honolulu, Austria, Uganda (Kampala Theatre Festival), Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Chicago. Additional Works: Simula - A New Beginning, Fall in Winter, Tug of War, Wayne Kalani - A Soldier's Tale, Jonah, Mutyang Kalayaan - Beloved Freedom, Tao Po: We Are Here, Lost in the Margins, El Pescador y La Lluvia and The Sea. Furthermore, Poetry Festival Singapore commissioned him to collaborate with Singaporean artists with Benches, Palindromes, Belonging, Atlas & Nomads.
Giovanni received the most sought after author with the literary artist category during the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture Pahayag Project for his first book, Leaves from the Silverlake Barrio published by The Undeniables. A collection of his poetry was also published in Completely Mixed Up and Fugaz de la Piel Canela, Fleeting Cinnamon Skin is included in Where Is the Hope? An Anthology of Short Climate Change Plays and Ang Diwata ng Bundok Banahaw - The Goddess of Mt. Banahaw is in Lighting the Way published by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.
Ang Gitano, The Gypsy was published by Carayan press and has been presented during the Filipino American International Book Festival.
San Diego Rep presents The Butterfly of Chula Vista by Giovanni Ortega follows Libertad Molina, a Mexi-Pino (Mexican-Filipino American) as he embraces his many layers by performing drag at Divina's Barangay & Grill in Chula Vista. This heart-felt and fast-paced comedy touches on powerful themes about familial duty, identity and acceptance.
Directed by Jesca Prudencio.
Aurora, Remedios, and Eugenia are three of the most sought-after professional funeral criers in Monterey Park. They are eager to welcome Aurora’s 14-year-old daughter Ligaya (nicknamed Gaya) from the Philippines into their world and teach her their somber trade. However, they soon realize that Gaya has the opposite effect on people, making them laugh instead of cry. What ensues is a hilarious and heartwarming story of cultural identity, generational conflict, and finding home in a new country.
Artists at Play presents Allos. Like so many immigrants seeking a better life, Carlos Bulosan followed his brothers from the Philippines to Seattle. He lived and worked across California, taking whatever jobs he could to survive, finding his voice in writing and fighting for workers’ rights along the way. ALLOS tells the story of his struggles in the United States, and how with courage and a strong spirit, he came to love and call this country home.
Lighting the Way: An Anthology of Short Plays About the Climate Crisis includes 49 inspiring plays by writers from around the world. The plays were commissioned for Climate Change Theatre Action 2019, a global distributed theatre festival that coincided with the 25th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 25) held in Madrid, Spain under the presidency of the Chilean government. Responding to a prompt asking them to “give center stage to the unsung climate warriors and climate heroes who are lighting the way toward a just and sustainable future,” the writers offer a diversity of perspectives and artistic approaches to telling the stories of those who are making a positive impact. Whether exploring the definition of climate heroism, new technologies like mango leather, or giving legal rights to Nature, the plays go beyond the dystopian worlds and apocalyptic scenarios favored by blockbuster movies and sci-fi novels to tell nuanced and empowering stories – stories that give us the courage to get up in the morning and fight for the world we all deserve.
Ang Diwata ng Bundok Banahaw - The Goddess of Mt. Banahaw by Giovanni Ortega based on a short story by Abel Molina is included in this anthology.
A collection of 50 short plays by writers from all over the world, commissioned for Climate Change Theatre Action 2017. A creative response to the question "How can we inspire people and turn the challenges of climate change into opportunities?"
“Fugaz de la Piel Canela - Fleeting Cinnamon Skin, written by Giovanni Ortega is included in this anthology.
Published by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.
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