Hit play returns to US for a second run

Updated: 2014-07-11 12:06

By May Zhou in Houston (China Daily USA)

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What's it like leaving your home and being forced to start a new life in a new land?

At a news conference yesterday in Houston, renowned Taiwanese playwright and director Stan Lai and Chi Tai, president of Chinese Ticket Box, introduced Lai's stage play The Village, which will be performed at Houston's Hobby Center on July 12 and 13.

"My aim was to present a unique period in human history when people were uprooted from their hometowns and came to live together under extraordinary circumstances," Lai said.

The Houston performances will represent the 175th and 176th performances of The Village since its debut in December of 2008. It has been well received on the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, the US and Singapore over the past six years. This is the show's second US tour.

Lai, who last visited Houston 20 years ago, said that he created The Village at the behest of his friend TV producer Wang Wei-chung and its popularity shows that the work has taken on a life of its own.

The play is derived from almost 200 real life stories from 30 families in dependent villages told by Wang to Lai and other sources.

Lai said for two years he did not know how to pull it all together until he finally figured out how to structure the play: condense the characters and stories into three distinct families.

According to Lai, since the play was first performed, people have started to pay attention to and write about the history of the so-called "dependent villages".

"It's a bit ironic that art plays the role of preserving a history that was on the brink of being forgotten," Lai mused.

"The Village also helped many people from the Chinese mainland understand Taiwan better," Lai said. "They realize that those who retreated to Taiwan did not just go there and have a good life. They went through a lot of hardships."

Lai is confident that the story of being uprooted and starting a new life elsewhere will resonate with US audiences, primarily Chinese immigrants, despite their different circumstances.


 Hit play returns to US for a second run

Taiwan's renowned playwright and director Stan Lai (right) talks about his play The Village along with Chi Tai, president of Chinese Ticket Box, at a news conference on Thursday in Houston. Two performances of Lai's work will be presented at Houston's Hobby Center on Saturday and Sunday. May Zhou / China Daily

(China Daily USA 07/11/2014 page2)