Young New Yorkers to Share Stories in Ping Chong + Company's 'UNDESIRABLE ELEMENTS'
Ping Chong + Company casts young New Yorkers to share the jubilant victories, recent discord and distant dreams of coming of age in this great, complicated city. Created exclusively for The New Victory Theater and featuring a cast of seven in their theatrical debuts, the world premiere of Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ performs at The Duke on 42nd Street from January 13 - 21, 2018.
"Undesirable Elements has taken me to places--geographic, psychic and spiritual--that I never imagined and it continues to inspire me," says Ping Chong, a 2017 Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow and National Medal of Arts recipient. "I know that in these difficult and unjust times, we need art and the power of storytelling more than ever. I am thrilled to return to The New Victory for the third time to share this 25th Anniversary production, and to turn the storytelling over to a new generation."
With affecting vulnerability, conviction and spirit, seven young people-who have never before appeared on a professional stage-bravely share personal stories from their various NYC neighborhoods, identities and experiences. Ranging in age from 18-22, the cast will address such topics as depression, gender identity, sexuality, homelessness, immigration, bullying and domestic violence in a narrative created for an audience of their peers. From East New York to West Harlem and from the South Bronx to Far Rockaway, the cast represents and celebrates their Black, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, South Asian and European culture and heritage. Through bold honesty and humor, intertwined with the pulse of New York City, they share the challenges of their past and hopes for their future.
"The Generation NYZ performers illuminate, in their own words, the challenges and joys of growing up here. While it's impossible to represent all the diversity of NYC in one group on stage, we hope that by amplifying these specific young voices, more young New Yorkers will be inspired to share their stories and speak their truths," says co-writer and co-director Sara Zatz (Beyond Sacred, Secret Survivors). For Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ, she and co-writer and co-director Kirya Traber (PBS's First Person) approached over 50 community organizations and schools from all five boroughs, ultimately interviewing 20 young people and collecting over 50 hours of interviews to unpack all that makes New York City inclusive, gritty, determined and creative.
Designed as a chamber piece of storytelling, Ping Chong + Company's Undesirable Elements is the company's ongoing series of interview-based theater examining issues of culture and identity from the perspective of individuals who see themselves as outsiders within their community. Since 1992, there have been over 50 productions in the series, including Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity; Inside/Out...voices from the Disability Community; Secret Survivors; and Cry for Peace: Voices From the Congo.
Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ is conceived by Ping Chong, and written and directed by Sara Zatz and Kirya Traber in collaboration with the cast including Edwin Aguila, Monica Victoria Tatacoya Castañeda, Syl (Andrea) Egerton, Mohammad Murtaza, De-Andra Pryce, Porscha Polkahantis Rippy and Rafael Rosario. Zakaria Khafagy and Ms. Traber are understudies. The production team includes Marika Kent (lighting design), Katherine Freer (projection design), Courtney Golden (production associate) and executive director Bruce Allardice.
IF YOU GO:
UNDESIRABLE ELEMENTS: GENERATION NYZ
Public Performance Schedule: 10 performances
Saturday, January 13 at 2pm, 7pm
Sunday, January 14 at 12pm, 5pm
Monday, January 15 at 2pm
Friday, January 19 at 7pm
Saturday, January 20 at 2pm, 7pm* **
Sunday, January 21 at 12pm, 5pm
Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ has a running time of approximately 70 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for ages 12 and up.
Full-price tickets for Undesirable Elements: Generation NYZ are $25. Tickets are available online (www.newvictory.org/boxoffice) and by phone (646.223.3010).
To purchase tickets in person, The New Victory Theater box office is located at 209 West 42nd Street (between 7th / 8th Avenue). Box Office hours are Sunday & Monday from 11am-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm.
Ping Chong has created over 100 productions which have been presented at major theaters, festivals and museums worldwide. Major interdisciplinary works include Alaxsxa/Alaska (2017, LaMaMa ETC and Alaska tour), Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America (with Talvin Wilks, 2013 University of Maryland, 2015 University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2017 Wake Forest University), Throne of Blood (2010 Brooklyn Academy Of Music and Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Cathay: Three Tales of China (2005, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The New Victory Theater), Kwaidan (1998, Center for Puppetry Arts, Henson International Festival of Puppet Theatre, 2000, The New Victory Theater). Chong is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two BESSIE awards, two OBIE awards, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship and the 2014 National Medal of Arts.
Ping Chong + Company (Cathay: Three Tales of China, New Vic 2005; Kwaidan, New Vic 2000) creates theatrical works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times. Their over 100 original productions have been performed at La MaMa ETC, BAM's Next Wave Festival, Central Park SummerStage, Lincoln Center Festival and Asia Society, and internationally at Perth International Arts Festival (Australia), Barbican Centre (U.K.), Lille 2004 European Capital of Culture Festival (France), Romaeuropa Festival (Italy), Tokyo International Festival of Performing Arts (Japan), and Festival of Asian Art (Hong Kong), among others.
The New York City-based company was founded in 1975 by leading theatrical innovator Ping Chong with a mission to create works of theater and art that explore the intersections of race, culture, history, art, media and technology in the modern world. Today, Ping Chong + Company produces original works by a close-knit ensemble of affiliated artists, under the artistic leadership of Ping Chong. Productions range from intimate oral history projects to grand-scale, cinematic, multidisciplinary productions featuring puppets, performers, full music and projection scores. Their art reveals beauty, precision and a commitment to social justice.
The New Victory Theater brings kids to the arts and the arts to kids. Created in 1995 on iconic 42nd Street, this nonprofit theater has become a standard-bearer of quality performing arts for young audiences in the United States. Reflecting and serving the diverse city it calls home, The New Victory is committed to arts access for all students, teachers, kids, families and communities of New York to experience and engage with the exemplary international programming of theater, dance, circus, puppetry and more on its stages. A leader in arts education, youth employment and audience engagement, The New Victory Theater has been honored by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, by Americans for the Arts with a National Arts Education Award, and by the Drama Desk for "providing enchanting, sophisticated children's theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people."
Founded in 1990, The New 42nd Street is an independent nonprofit organization charged with the continuous cultural revival of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, building on the foundation of seven historic theaters to make extraordinary performing arts and cultural engagement part of everyone's life. The New 42nd Street fulfills this purpose by ensuring the ongoing vibrancy of 42nd Street's historic theaters; supporting performing artists in the creation of their work at the New 42nd Street Studios and The Duke on 42nd Street; creating arts access and education at The New Victory Theater, New York's premier theater for kids and families; and through the New 42nd Street Youth Corps, its model youth development initiative, which pairs life skills workshops and mentorship with paid employment in the arts for NYC youth. Inspired by the city it serves, The New 42nd Street is committed to the transformational power of the arts.