Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

David Henry Hwang Curates Signature Theatre and Lark Center's Chinese Playwriting Series, Beg. 3/10


Signature Theatre and Lark Play Development Center present the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series, curated by David Henry Hwang.

For one week, beginning Sunday, March 10, our two theater companies will host a group of distinguished playwrights, directors, translators, adaptors, and actors who will rehearse and present English-language versions of four contemporary Chinese plays. The play translations-co-commissioned by the companies-will be presented in readings as part of the translation development process on March 15, 16 and 17 in the Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center.

A vital component of David Henry Hwang's residency at Signature, and an extension of Hwang's many international collaborations at the Lark Play Development Center, the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series is aimed at exposing U.S. audiences to the diverse, dynamic world of contemporary Chinese playwriting while fostering a conversation between Chinese and U.S. artists. The four contemporary Chinese plays include:

Friday, March 15 @ 7:00pm
By Wei-Jan Chi
Literal translation by Cheng-Han Wu, adaptation by Madeleine George, directed by Daniel Jaquez

The death of Liu San's best friend starts him on a wild ride through hidden memories and alternate realities.

Saturday, March 16 @ 2:30pm
By Nick Yu
Literal translation and adaptation by Zhao Binghao, directed by Josh Hecht

Sixty years after being rescued from drowning by the captain of a fishing vessel, a fisherman living with Alzheimer's receives a mysterious visitor from the sea.

Saturday, March 16 @ 7:30pm
By Meng Jinghui
Literal translation by Nick Frisch, adaptation by Lloyd Suh, directed by Victor Maog

A gritty exploration of Beijing's underground punk scene, complete with songs and slapstick.

Sunday, March 17 @ 2:30pm
By Candace Chong
Literal translation by JoAnna Lee and Ken Smith, adaptation by David Henry Hwang, directed by Lisa Peterson

In a thinly disguised Hong Kong, an editor investigates the disappearance of a socially-conscious historian, and unwittingly lands a role in creating the Perfect City.

The readings are free to the general public and each presentation will be followed by a moderated talkback. Seats are currently filled, but to be added to the wait please list email

Special Event: Playwrights of the Chinese World: Hong Kong, New York, Shanghai, Taipei
As part of this special series, the Asia Society will be hosting a panel discussion with David Henry Hwang and all four playwrights. Visit the Asia Society's website for tickets and more information.

Candace Chong is a recipient of the Best Artist Award (Drama) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and the winner of four Hong Kong Drama Awards (Best Script) for Alive in the Mortuary (2003), Shall We Go to Mars (2004), The French Kiss (2006) and Murder in San Jose (2009). Her plays have been translated and presented in Seoul, Tokyo, Macao, Singapore and Shanghai. Her first commission as librettist, for the opera Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, was selected as part of New York City Opera's VOX: Contemporary American Opera Lab in May and will receive its world premiere this fall in Beijing and Hong Kong. In 2004, Ms. Chong was selected as an Asian Cultural Council Fellow and spent a year in the United States. She is a prolific translator of stage work, and her translations include Titus Andronicus, Betrayal and The Shape of Things, among many others. Most recently, Ms. Chong collaborated with David Henry Hwang to provide Mandarin Chinese translations for his play Chinglish. Ms. Chong's play, Wild Boar, premiered at the 2012 Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Wei-Jan Chi is a Taiwanese writer whose body of work spans two decades and includes screenplays, plays, essays and a novel. His plays include MIT: Mad in Taiwan (2008), The Mahjong Game Trilogy (197-2007) and One Bed, Four Players (1999). Most recently, Professor Chi wrote his first novel, Private Eyes, which won the 2012 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIPE) Book Prize, and his new play, Playing the Violin, premiered at The National Theatre in Beijing in November 2012. Professor Chi holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and currently teaches in the Department of Drama and Theatre at National Taiwan University.

Meng Jinghui is a leading Chinese playwright and director whose avant-garde, experimental works have brought him widespread popularity in theatres across Beijing. Early in his career, Meng was recognized for his performance in Eugene Ionesco's The Rhinoceros in 1987 and his direction of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett in 1991. To date, Meng has created over ten plays with his wife, Liao Yimei, who he met while pursuing a Masters in Acting and Directing at the Central Academy of Drama. His plays include the acclaimed Si Si Fan (1993), I Love XXX (1994) and Bootleg Faust (1999). Meng's first film, Chicken Poets, debuted in September, 2002. Meng has participated in arts delegations to Avignon and Vienna, among others, and runs a performance studio at the National Theatre Company of China.

Nick Yu is the most produced living playwright in mainland China, and the Deputy General manager for Shanghai's only state-run theater company, the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC). Since 2000, Mr. Yu has authored more than forty works for stage and screen, with performances in other countries as well as in China. He received Asian Cultural Council Fellowships in 2004 and 2007 to conduct research on cultural exchange programs in the USA, and participated in the International Residency program at The Royal Court Theatre in 2008. He has also translated works from other lands, which have been performed in China and other countries. His plays have been presented in English and Japanese as well as other languages and dialects, with performances in the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Egypt, Austria, Romania, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Hong Kong, Taipei and Macao. His works were published in Chinese, Japanese, English and Turkish. As the manager of the Arts Theatre, Drama Salon, and D6 Studio of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Mr. Yu has hosted more than four hundred projects on three stages in Shanghai, including Chinese and international productions, and has facilitated international tours for SDAC productions. Since 2003, as a dramaturg and producer of the SDAC, he also has co-produced several productions with theatre companies from abroad. Since 2005, he has been the Chief Director of the Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival, which is an annual festival for theatre companies from all over the world.

The Lark Play Development Center offers a range of programs that have proven, over 19 years, to bring artists together across boundaries of all kinds. As a creative laboratory the company measures its success by the strong endorsement of its community, the idiosyncrasy and innovation of affiliated artists, the effectiveness of collaborations, and the advancement of worthy theater projects to residencies, workshops, productions, publications and classrooms locally, nationally and globally. By placing authors at the center of the creative process, and giving them the tools they need to succeed financially and professionally, Lark's goal is to empower them to tell their stories and reflect the world back to us in unique and important ways. Our focus is on maintaining a laboratory where talent is rewarded, diversity abounds, and everyone's idea is worthy of consideration.

In April 2012 the Lark opened a new 10,000 square foot custom-designed, play-creation studio in New York City's theater district. As part of its growth over the last few years, the Lark has created a portfolio of major playwriting fellowships that provide economic flexibility to writers at different stages of their careers including the PONY Fellowship which provides a housing, generous living stipend and healthcare in addition to artistic and career support. Last year, Lark served 945 artists, including 186 playwrights; partnered with over two dozen theaters and universities; engaged 3,247 audience members directly in intimate presentations and conversations with artists on-site; and reached hundreds of thousands of others indirectly through workshops, publications and multiple productions, seeded by Lark programs, throughout the world. In the past three years, 74 Lark-developed plays moved on to 111 productions. Lark has worked with artists from over 50 countries and has supported numerous international projects and exchanges including a touring residency program for Roma (Gypsy) youth in Eastern Europe, an annual U.S.-Mexico Playwright Exchange and its Middle East America Residency Program. Recent plays substantially developed at the Lark include David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Theresa Rebeck's Seminar.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright's body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. Signature is the first theatre company to devote and entire season to the work of a single playwright, including re-examinations of past writings as well as New York and world premieres. By championing in depth explorations of a living playwright's body of work, the Company delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright's singular vision.

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, the Negro Ensemble Company, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson. At The Pershing Square Signature Center, the Company's expanded programming includes: Residency One, the continuation of Signature's core program which provides audiences with an immersive exploration of the work of a singular playwright; Residency Five, which provides five-year residencies for multiple playwrights, guaranteeing three full productions of new work over the course of each playwright's residency; and the Legacy Program, which honors the lifetime achievement of playwrights who have previously been in residence at Signature through the production of a premiere or earlier play.

Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, fourteen Lucille Lortel Awards, sixteen Obie Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and twenty-two AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year. For more information on Signature, visit

Related Articles View More Washington, DC Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You