Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Premieres A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS Tonight
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, celebrating its 39th Season, presents the New York world premiere of A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS, China's greatest and most beloved novel, running now through February 14, 2016 at the Clubman Theatre (Theatre Row). The production opens tonight, January 28, 2016.
Set in 18th-century China during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the story centers on two beings from the heavenly kingdom - a stone and a flower - who are reborn on earth as cousins Bao Yu (Precious Jade) and Dai Yu (Dark Jade). They fall in love, but their union is ill-fated as their elders favor a more suitable union for Bao Yu with his affable cousin Bao Chai. A counterpoint plot is of the noble Jia family heading for social disgrace and financial disaster and who represent a crumbling society as the Chinese aristocracy finds itself increasingly unable to maintain the façade of noble infallibility, coming into conflict with ancient Buddhist and Confucian values.
Playwright Jeremy Tiang says - "A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS (Hong Lou Meng) is regarded as one of the 'Four Great' novels of China. Since its publication in the 18th Century, it has become one of China's best-loved and most widely-read literary works, adapted multiple times in opera, film and television. Yet this work is little-known outside of Asia - something I feel is overdue for change... Pan Asian Repertory Theater has worked tirelessly to put the best of Chinese culture before American audiences, and is the ideal home for my play. "
Co-director Lu Yu says - "The 4 Chinese Classics: Dream of the Red Pavilion, Journey to the West, The Tales of the 3 Kingdoms, and Water Margin (All Men are Brothers), are required reading for students in China but it is Dream of the Red Pavilion that encompasses grand passions of greed, deception, usury, and adultery... Throughout history, China has suffered draught, famine, floods, civil wars, and invasions from foreign powers, but our culture still survived, because we always go back to our classics, to learn to forgive, forget, and move on."
Co-director Tisa Chang says - "Pan Asian is proud to present this World Premiere - a celebration of Chinese culture- in time for Lunar New Year in February 2016. While examining the privileged 1% of a fading aristocracy, A Dream of Red Pavilions continues Pan Asian's mission of exploring contemporary relevance of timeless classics, and mirrors today's economic disparities globally."
The veteran Design team includes: Sets by Sheryl Liu (FILM CHINOIS, SAYONARA), Lights by Victor En Yu Tan (THE JOY LUCK CLUB, SHOGUN MACBETH), costumes by Hyun Sook Kim (THE LAST EMPRESS London, Toronto, Los Angeles) and Sound by Ian Wherle, (FISHING FOR WIVES, FILM CHINOIS).
Jeremy Tiang's (playwright) previous work includes Butterfly and The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth, London) and Floating Bones (Arts House, Singapore); development readings at New York Theatre Workshop, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Soho Theatre. He was a finalist for the NYTW 2050, Playwrights Center Many Voices and David TK Wong fellowships; and received honorable mentions for Alameda, East West Players 2042 See Change Award and Theatre503 Playwriting Award. Jeremy is also a fiction writer (his short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015, and he is a recipient of Singapore's Golden Point Award, Singapore) and translator from Chinese (of more than ten books, including work by best-selling writers Zhang Yueran and Yan Geling; he is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellowship and a PEN/Heim Grant).
LU YU (co-director) is a child star on national radio shows in Taiwan, who after graduating with honors from the National Academy of Arts, signed a 6 year movie contract with Cathay Organization's Movie Co. in Hong Kong, and acted in more than 30 Movies. He was the host of the National Hour Variety Show on Redifusion T.V and the producer and anchor for 3 weekly programs in Mandarin Chinese and Amoy for The Voice of America. As an original member of La MaMa Chinatown, he directed, acted in and choreographed numerous plays and musicals, and toured with the company to Italy and Taiwan. Other directing credits include for Yangtze Rep. Theater Co. (also Co- Founder); Pan Asian Repertory Theater's Legend of White Snake; and Butterfly Lovers, a musical in Mandarin and English performed at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Film credits include: Hollywood Ending directed by Woody Allen, and Saving Face, Children of Invention, and Tomorrow Comes Today. T.V. an EMMY nomination for his role in the Chinatown episode on the CBS series Due South; Voice Over work includes: more than 100 episodes for Sesame Street for Shanghai T.V. and hundreds of other voice over clients. He has been a teaching artist for City Lore Inc for more than a decade.
TISA CHANG (Co-Director and Artistic Producing Director) has been a theatre professional for over 40 years as performer, director and producer. She is a former Executive Board member of SDC and directing highlights include: 2015's Sayonara masterpiece The Joy Luck Club, original musicals at Pan Asian Rep: Cambodia Agonistes which toured extensively, Shanghai Lil's (also to San Francisco) and intercultural epics: Kwatz! The Tibetan Project (..given vibrant immediacy...under the direction of the ever-inventive Tisa Chang"- NYTimes), Rashomon which was invited to Havana Theatre Festival in 2003 ("Under the taut direction of Tisa Chang, the Pan Asian Repertory has mounted a commendable revival that is all the more striking for its simplicity" - NYTimes). She pioneered bilingual premieres of Return of the Phoenix and A Midsummer Night's Dream for Ellen Stewart's La Mama Chinese Theatre Group.
Photo by Michael Blase