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INCIDENT AT HIDDEN TEMPLE Premiere and Pakistani Play ACQUITTAL Slated for Pan Asian Rep's 40th Season

Tisa Chang, Founding Artistic Producing Director of Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, announces its 40th Season in 2017, exploring unchartered terrain, with the commissioned World Premiere of INCIDENT AT HIDDEN TEMPLE and the New York Premiere of ACQUITTAL from Pakistan.

Building on the success of 2015's FILM CHINOIS by Damon Chua, an atmospheric mystery in the genre of film noir involving covert agendas, thwarted love and misaligned politics, INCIDENT AT HIDDEN TEMPLE will agaIn Focus on China in the 40's but with a narrative inspired by real events. Using the historic Flying Tigers squadron and the key presence of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the play examines the critical role played by American pilots in China during WWII. The mystery hinges upon three Chinese women - two sisters separated by wartime uncertainties, and the third who unwittingly crosses their paths. The production stars Rosanne Ma, veteran Pan Asian actor, last seen in FILM CHINOIS, SHOGUN MACBETH, CHINA DOLL and RASHOMON.

From Damon Chua: "My take on the story sits squarely during a period of US-China engagement (1942-44) that fewer and fewer people know about. Yet, it is a critical part of world history that has until now received little attention. For this story provides the context of how America lost its political leverage in China, ushering in the Communist era, which would last until the "ping pong diplomacy" of the 1970s. There is much to be learned from this period of history - the mistakes that were made, and the people who tried hard to right those mistakes. These lessons are ever relevant today, given our nation's involvement in disputes and ideological warfare all over the globe."

ACQUITTAL by Shahid Nadeem focuses on four women in a Pakistan prison each accused of a different injustice. The play was inspired by Shahid's own imprisonment in the 80's as young man.

From Shahid Nadeem "ACQUITTAL was written in 1987, while I was living in exile in London. It has a specific reference to the early 1980s, when General Zia-ul-Haq had implemented blatant discriminatory 'Islamic' laws (called Hudood Ordinances), which proved to be detrimental to the interests of women and minority groups. These laws were used to punish women and caused gross miscarriages of justice. Zia's anti-women 'Islamization' policies galvanized the women's movement in Pakistan."

Tisa Chang says "We are proud to continue the social justice impetus begun in 2016 with Qing dynasty's classic, A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS by Jeremy Tiang on Manchu dissolution, and NONO BOY by Ken Narasaki with probing questions of post WWII resettlement - with INCIDENT AT HIDDEN TEMPLE's relevant themes of US - China relations shaped as noir mystery and ACQUITTAL's lens to women's incarceration in Pakistan."

Damon Chua, playwright, is a member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group 2014-15 and Ma-Yi Theater Company's Writers Lab, and is the recipient of an Ovation Award (Best World Premiere Play) for FILM CHINOIS, which made its Off-Broadway debut with Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in 2015. His TYA play THE EMPEROR'S NIGHTINGALE recently made its world premiere at Adventure Theatre MTC. A National Endowment for the Arts, Dramatists Guild Fund, UNESCO and Durfee Foundation grant recipient, Damon's plays are published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus, Plays for Young Audiences and the Proscenium Journal. He is also a published poet and short story writer.

Shahid Nadeem is an acclaimed Pakistani playwright well-known for his commitment to human rights, peace and social justice. He was imprisoned by various military regimes in Pakistan, and was exiled for a period. Since his return to Pakistan in 1988, he has served as Executive Director of Ajoka Theatre. Nadeem was a Getty Research Institute/International Pen Fellow in 2001 and National Endowment for Democracy's Democracy Fellow in 2013-14. He was given the President of Pakistan's Pride of Performance award in 2009. A collection of his plays was published by the Oxford University Press Pakistan. Nadeem also worked for Amnesty International as International Campaign Coordinator (1980-88). He wrote and directed Dara which was adapted and produced by UK's National Theatre in 2015. His plays have been performed or given dramatic readings at Lark Theatre, CUNY and Castillo Theatre in New York and also at Highway Theatre, Santa Monica and Brava Theatre, San Francisco.

Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep Founding Artistic Producing Director, is a theatre professional for 5 decades as dancer, actor, director and producer. She has guided the company through successful Advancement Initiatives and Challenge Campaigns. Tisa is former Executive Board member of SDC and directing highlights include: 2015's Sayonara; 2007'sThe Joy Luck Club, intercultural epic Cambodia Agonistes which toured nationally and to Cairo and Johannesburg, Kwatz! The Tibetan Project, and Rashomon which was invited to Havana Theatre Festival in 2003. She created premieres, in English and Mandarin Chinese of the Peking opera, Return of the Phoenix, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

PAN ASIAN REPERTORY THEATRE, celebrating its 40th Milestone, was founded in 1977 by Tisa Chang and core artists at La Mama with the encouragement of the late Ellen Stewart. Tisa practiced Artistry in Action to counter stereotyped casting, and to broaden the theatrical vocabulary of American theatre. PAN ASIAN REP is a pioneer for artistic excellence and service - with an off Broadway Season, Training/ Community Engagement, Play Development- and is recognized by diverse communities, press, and the American theatre mainstream. Mel Gussow of The New York Times described it as "A Stage For All the World of Asian -Americans" and wrote that "Before Pan Asian Rep, Asian Americans had severely limited opportunities in the theater." The company has nurtured thousands of artists and is a "who-is-who" of Asian American theatre history, with notable alumni/ae including Lucy Liu of CBS TV's Elementary, and Daniel Dae Kim of Hawaii 5-0.

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