We're a group of students at the University of Michigan putting together the college premiere of the play Chinglish, by David Henry Hwang, in an international, interdepartmental, and interdisciplinary collaboration sponsored by the Confucius Institute.
"Chinglish is a story about the universal human desire to understand and be understood - the need to connect and communicate despite through personal, linguistic, and cultural barriers. The play follows an American businessman who's desperately seeking to land a lucrative business deal in China's booming economic market. After continuous misunderstandings, shady arrangements, and an affair with a secretive Chinese woman, he learns that there is much to be lost, and found, in translation."
We've brought together an amazing team of collaborators hailing from all disciplines and parts of the world. We are very fortunate to have a strong international presence in our student body, particularly from China. We see this story as a bridge between performing arts majors and Chinese students. The majority of members involved are first time performers, while the more experienced actors are learning of the culture through this collaborative immersion. We see art as a medium to generate discussion, address globally and locally relevant subjects (just as the play's), and to connect people to one another.
The live performances will take place at:
Video Studio, Duderstadt Center,
2281 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Thursday, October 3rd, 7pm
Friday, October 4th, 7pm
Saturday, October 5th, 2pm
Saturday, October 5th, 7pm
FREE to public.
Seats are first come, first served.
The Duderstadt Video Studio will feature live video projections through the studio's HD multi-camera system, as well as supporting English supertitles for the Chinese dialogue. We envision our production as not only a piece of live theatre, but as a cinematic experience as well. In addition, we will make a final cut of the high quality recording, to screen it later in the year to expose a larger audience to Chinglish.
The production will feature original music by Mayumi Kimura, composed at an intersection of contemporary and traditional Chinese musical styles featuring national instruments such as the dizi, erhu, and guzheng.
The Production Team:
- Flores Komatsu (Director) - BFA Theatre, Mexico.
- Yaqi Ge (Director of Photography) - BS Screen Arts & Cultures, Beijing, China.
- Clarisza Runtung (Asst. Director) - BFA Theatre, Jakarta, Indonesia.
- Gerui Wang (Art Consultant) - MA Chinese Studies, Changsha, China
- Yu Yan (Sociocultural Consultant) - MA Chinese Studies, Beijing, China
- Yiwen Zhou (Linguistic Consultant) - MA Linguistics, Shanghai, China
- Shuai Niu (Chinese Drama Consultant) - PhD Chemistry, Liaoning, China
- Kayleigh Laymon (Stage Manager) - BFA Design/Production, San Jose, CA
- Alexis Breese (Asst. Stage Manager) - BTA Theatre, Dayton, OH
- Peter Shin (Poster Designer) - BM Composition, Kansas City, MO
- Mayumi Kimura (Music Composer) - BM Composition, Mexico
- Liz Williams (Lighting Designer) - BFA Design/Production, Southfield MI
- Isaac Levine (Sound Designer) - BFA Performing Arts Tech, Pittsburg, PA
- Peter Leonard (Music Recording Engineer) - BS Sound Engineering, Maryland
- Musicians: Victor Huls (Cello), Xiaodong Wei (Erhu & Guzheng), Yueyang Zhong (Erhu), Gabriel Wilk (Guitar), Evan Dahan (Vibraphone) & Evan Saddler (Percussion), Noniko Hsu (Dizi).
- Graham Techler (Daniel Cavanaugh) - BFA Theatre, Newton, MA
- Avery DiUbaldo (Peter Timms) - BFA Theatre, Aurora, CO
- Jingchen Wu (Cai Guoliang) - PhD Math, Beijing, China
- Caitlin Chou (Xi Yan) - BFA Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
- Isa Wenfei Zhang (Translator Qian) - MPH Human Nutrition, Beijing, China
- Justin Wong (Bing) - LSA, Rockville Centre, NY
- Linsen Li (Judge Geming) - PhD History - Chengdu, China
- Ping Guo (Prosecutor Li) - PhD Chemistry, Shijiazhuang, China
- Tian Tian (Translator Zhao) - MPP Public Policy & MA Economics, Xinxiang, China
Risks and challenges
Chinglish began preproduction about a year ago, in October 2012. As the unique play that it is, it required unique planning and support for the very specific casting requirements and the technical elements involved. Therefore we've been raising funds through academic grants since then. However, this funding is limited and we need further funding to take this production, a unique type of theatre that might get as many productions as it deserves. Therefore, we have a commitment to our team and to the material to fulfill Chinglish to it's highest potential.
Going into performances at the middle of our kick-starter cycle, means that, as students, we've had to put in some of our pockets. We are also offering free admission, and therefore will not be generating revenue from the performances. We have just enough funding, either personal or institutional, to put on the performance and record it. However, reaching our goal before the performance date means we could rent the best quality equipment of the eventual screening - which brings up the second half of the screening. We are required to employ camera operators and house technicians during all performances, which will give us good variety for our final cut. This is very expensive, but it is vital for an audience to take maximum benefit out of the performances. With your help we'll be able to cover facility fees, audience risers and seating, camera operators, editing, and some very vital projection materials. Thank you so much! We'll keep you posted with updates.
As college students, undertaking student projects, can be a very exciting yet daunting process. Given the peculiar casting requirements for this play, we searched far and wide in our University to right group of actors for this production. More than half of our team is composed of actors, designers, students from China, most of them with few or no previous acting experience. We also have a two American-born Chinese students who've grown closer to their heritage, and the language through this project. One of our actors is playing a Chinese-speaking British expatriate, meaning he's had to learn both Mandarin and an British dialect. It's been a very educationally reciprocal process for both groups. Theatre students helping with performance and Chinese actors with culture and language. It's this symbiotic collaboration that's the main drive for Chinglish.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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