UNSCRIPTED: SALESMAN IN CHINA
A border-crossing time-travelling community event
Produced by PTC in partnership with the Gateway Theatre
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018
Venue: Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond, BC)
Tickets: $15 (+tax), Available at gatewaytheatre.com.
Box Office: 604.270.1812
PTC Presents Unscripted: Salesman in China, a border-crossing time-travelling community event. Performances, talks, food and images bring Beijing, 1983 and Vancouver, 2018 into relationship through Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. How do we translate language and cultural differences? How do we bridge the gap between generations? PTC Associates Leanna Brodie and Jovanni Sy welcome you into the world of their new play.
For two months in 1983, two of the world’s great artists struggled to bridge the abyss between two of the world’s great cultures. UNSCRIPTED: Salesman in China unearths their incredible story.
When Arthur Miller went to Beijing to direct his masterpiece, Death of a Salesman (translated by and starring the renowned Ying Ruocheng) at Beijing People’s Art Theatre, the world’s media buzzed with excitement and doubt. Could the Chinese possibly connect with this quintessentially American tragedy? Could an American truly understand China?
Now, Gateway Theatre’s Jovanni Sy (A Taste of Empire, Nine Dragons) and playwright/ translator Leanna Brodie (Schoolhouse, The Book of Esther, You Are Happy, Après moi/After Me) are writing a new play, Salesman in China, inspired by this ground-breaking international collaboration which has so much to say to the Vancouver of today.
During an afternoon at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre, PTC invites you to experience an excerpt from Death of a Salesman performed in both Mandarin and English, explore the amazing story of Miller and Ying’s production with Dr. Claire Conceison (MIT, Duke University) and dig into the fascinating world of Chinese-English cross-cultural work with veteran translator Fang Zhang. Enjoy some immersive experiences that will bring you into the world of the play – Beijing in 1983 – including the Memory Booth, historical displays and a selection of Beijing-style snacks.
PTC will provide ASL interpretation by request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by January 26th to request interpretation.
Written materials will be available in simplified Chinese and English.
Performance will be presented in Mandarin and English.
Talks are in English, with questions welcome and answered in Mandarin and English.
Access Info: Gateway Theatre is accessible to guests in wheelchairs or using other mobility assistance devices. Accessible parking and washrooms are also available at the theatre.
Jovanni Sy is a playwright, director, actor, and the Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre. As an actor, Jovanni has performed with numerous companies from Whitehorse to St. John’s, most recently in King of the Yees (Gateway), Dead Metaphor (Firehall), and A Taste of Empire (Boca del Lupo – nominated for two Dora Awards including Outstanding New Play). Jovanni directed Closer Than Ever, Valley Song, and Harvest at Gateway and God of Carnage, Antigone, and Blackbird for Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong. He also directed Derek Chan in his Cantonese translation of Jovanni’s A Taste of Empire entitled 食盡天下. Jovanni’s most recent play Nine Dragons premiered at Vertigo Theatre in Calgary and opens at Gateway April 12, 2018.
Leanna Brodie is a playwright, actor, and translator. The Vic, For Home and Country, The Book of Esther, and Schoolhouse, published by Talon Books, are regularly performed across Canada. Ulla’s Odyssey, her award-winning opera with Anthony Young, has toured the UK. She has translated numerous Québec playwrights, including Hélène Ducharme of Théâtre Motus and Christian Bégin. She has been playwright-in-residence at the Blyth Festival, 4th Line Theatre, Lighthouse Festival Theatre, and currently, the Gateway Theatre. Other residencies have included PTC’s Colony, Banff Playwrights Colony, Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, and Glassco Translation Residency. Ruby Slippers premieres her translation of Catherine Léger’s I Lost My Husband! at the Gateway in March. leannabrodie.com
Claire Conceison (康开丽) is Quanta Professor of Chinese Culture and Professor of Theater Arts at MIT. She teaches courses on Chinese theater, Asian American theater, cross-cultural performance, translation, and sport as performance. Her book Significant Other: Staging the American in China (2004) examines representations of Americans on the Chinese stage from 1987-2002. Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage During China’s Revolution and Reform (2009) is the autobiography of the late Chinese actor and cultural diplomat Ying Ruocheng. I Love XXX and Other Plays (2017) is an edited anthology of five plays by China’s leading director Meng Jinghui. Conceison wrote the introduction to the new edition (2015) of Arthur Miller’s 1984 book Salesman in Beijing. She is an active translator and director.
Fang Zhang (张放) worked with numerous theatre artists from different countries during her 10-year tenure with the Shanghai Theatre Academy as a translator. She has translated plays, film scripts and books. After moving to Toronto, she has continued her work as a freelance translator. She translated Voices Carry (水流云在) by Ruocheng Ying and Claire Conceison into Chinese; Meng Jinghi’s play Head without Tail (关于爱情归宿的最新观念) into English; and Milan Kundera’s Jacques and his Master into Chinese
Arthur Miller (Oct. 17, 1915 – Feb. 10, 2005) was an American playwright, essayist, and figure in twentieth-century American theatre. Among his most popular plays are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (1955, revised 1956). He also wrote several screenplays and was most noted for his work on The Misfits (1961). The drama Death of a Salesman has been numbered on the short list of finest American plays in the 20th century. Miller won several awards for his work including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Ying Ruocheng (英若诚; Yīng Ruòchéng; June 21, 1929 – December 27, 2003) was a Chinese actor, director, playwright and vice minister of culture from 1986 to 1990. He first came to the attention of Western audiences for his portrayal of Kublai Khan in the 1982 miniseries Marco Polo. He is best known for playing the part of the governor of the detention camp in the Bernardo Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor, and the role of the Tibetan Buddhist Lama Norbu in Little Buddha. He is also well known as a theater translator, director, and actor for the Beijing People’s Art Theatre, particularly for his role as Pockmark Liu in Lao She’s masterpiece “Teahouse” and as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” in 1983, directed by Arthur Miller.
Beijing People’s Art Theatre (北京人民艺术剧院/北京人民藝術劇院), based in the Capital Theatre in Beijing, was founded in June 1952 by drama master Cao Yu and has produced nearly 300 dramas of different styles, from classic Chinese themes to adaptations of Molière. Through the 1960s, it was known for staging the works of master playwrights Guo Moruo, Lao She, Cao Yu and Tian Han. Since the 1980s, the theatre has introduced nearly 80 new dramas by 27 award-winning playwrights, including Signal Alarm, the first play written by Gao Xingjian, and his most celebrated drama Bus Stop. The company broke more new ground in 1983 when it invited playwright Arthur Miller to direct a production of Death of a Salesman, an experience Miller recounted in the form of a day-to-day diary in his book Salesman in Beijing (1985).