Monday, March 18, 2013

David Henry Wang Continues the Conversation...

Last year, David Henry Wang moderated an Asian American Performer's Action Coalition (AAPAC) roundtable discussion at Fordham University. The purpose was to begin a discussion about making the theater more inclusive.
Check out my post - Diversity in the Theater - Part III
for more information.

This year, as Signature Theatre's Residency One playwright, New York City theatergoers get a chance to experience three of Mr. Wang's plays - Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and Kung Fu. And if you were as fortunate as I was this past weekend, you got a chance to experience plays from The Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series (at absolutely no cost to the public).  

Wei-Jan Chi, Nick Yu, Meng Jinghui and Candace Chong

The Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series was a collaboration between Signature and Lark Play Development Center and was a vital component of Mr. Wang's residency at Signature. The series was aimed at exposing NYC audiences to the world of contemporary Chinese playwriting. But better yet, as Mr. Wang puts it...It begins a conversation between Chinese and US artists. 

The series featured four plays: 

Playing the Violin by Taiwanese playwright Wei-Jan Chi
The Captain by Nick Yu, mainland China's most produced living playwright.
Punk's Carnival by Beijing playwirght Meng Jinghui
Wild Boar by Hong Kong playwright Candace Chong  

I was fortunate enough to catch two readings - The Captain and Wild Boar. It was a treat to observe the multicultural cast of actors and sit amongst a more diverse than usual audience. Most of all though, I was delighted by how easily I was drawn into the plays. The Captain touches on themes such as aging, dementia, responsibility and love of the sea. And Wild Boar touches on media, censorship, economic development, marriage and relationships

The distance between NY and China may be some 7,000 miles but this African American girl from Brooklyn had no problems whatsoever appreciating these two wonderful plays.

Mr. Wang, all I can say is ... keep the conversation going. Because this devoted fan of the theater is listening closely...

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