Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America was founded in 1992 to produce works for and by Asian artists. Since then, it has become New York’s most significant entry point for the dramatic workshop from Chinese-speaking countries and a place of collaboration for artists from various parts of Asia.

REVELATION: The colors and Emotions of Asian Women Artists (through January 28)
 (January 14 and 15)
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW of our production of “Teahouse,” performed in NYC by Beijing People’s Art Theatre (November 27-December 1, 2005)

Dec. 15, 2005 to Jan. 28, 2006:
REVELATION: The colors and Emotions of Asian Women Artists
An Art exhibition jointly presented with
Asian Cultural Center and
Asian Women in Business
at Asian Fusion Gallery
15 E 40th Street (off 5th Ave.), 2nd fl.,
New York City

Hiro Tsuchiyo
Wen Wen Lin
Joanna Chan
Yi-Min Huang
Sun Young Ahn
Helen Hu
Leza Lin
Ling Wang
Megumi Nagai
Mitsuko Chapa Miyakawa
Mayumi Takagi
Tonomi Ono
Toots Magsino
Yoriko Morton
Grace Rim
Sholeh Dalai
Tara Sabharwal
Yang Xi
Marlene Tseng Yu

Mon. – Fri., 11 am till 1 pm; 2 pm till 5 pm
Sat., 11 am till 1 pm; 2 pm till 4 pm

Brought here by the Ministry of Culture and Consulate General of
People’s Republic of China in New York
With New York Performing Artists

Jointly sponsored by Yangtze Repertory Theatre and Columbia Promotions

Saturday, January 14, 2006, at 7:00 pm
Michael Schimmel Center for the Performing Arts, NYC
Sunday, January 15, 2006, at 2:00 pm
Chinese Language School Westchester, New York

Following the immensely successful presentation of Beijing People’s Art Theater’s Teahouse in November/December last year, Yangtze Repertory Theatre and Columbia Promotions will again sponsored 30 amazing young performing artists from Beijing in two appearances in New York in their first U.S. tour in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. They will be joined by other Chinese performing artists now based in New York. The admission is free. Please phone 212-202-0657 for reservations.

This event is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

Review of our production of:

China’s most prestigious theater company in its New York debut.
November 27 to December 1, 2005
Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University
3 Spruce Street, New York City

Photo by Beijing People’s Art Theatre. (Not from published review.)

Steeped in 50 Years of China’s Subjugation

Published: December 1, 2005

There is nothing in Western culture that quite corresponds with the traditional teahouse in China. The corner pub or Old West saloon come to mind, but as the captivating and beautifully acted production of Lao She’s “Teahouse” by the Beijing People’s Art Theater makes clear, there is no place that offers as broad a panorama of its society.

First performed in 1958, “Teahouse” has been a favorite work of one of China’s favorite writers, before and after the Cultural Revolution. The current revival, which is performed in Mandarin with English supertitles and sponsored in New York by the Yangtze Repertory Theater, is playing a limited run that ends tonight at Pace Downtown Theater, 3 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan.

Photo by Nan Melville for the New York Times

The play covers 50 years of Chinese history, and a unifying theme that runs through it is the subjugation, often willing, of China to foreign interests and powers through the first half of the 20th century. Spending an evening at the Yutai teahouse with the Beijing Theater helps explain the excesses of Maoism.

All of the action takes place in the teahouse, owned by Wang Lifa. The cross section of its customers range from pimps, gangsters and opium addicts to rich idlers who bring songbirds in their cages for entertainment, government spies, secret policemen and rebels. Tea is not the only commodity sold there.

The first act takes place in 1898, on the eve of the Boxer Uprising, as the Qing dynasty is in its death throes and although the Yutai denizens still wear their hair in pigtails, British influence is paramount. Poverty in the countryside is rampant, and peasants go to the teahouse to sell their children to wealthy mandarins.

The second act jumps forward 20 years to the time just after the death of Yuan Shih-kai, the successor to Sun Yat-sen as head of the Chinese republic. Warlords, each backed by a foreign power, have split China apart and the country is in a state of perpetual civil war. Wang has tried to keep his teahouse intact by taking in students as boarders and adding entertainment by way of a gramophone. Many of his old customers still appear, but in vastly altered circumstances.

The final act takes place in 1948. The Japanese occupiers have left, but the Kuomintang, also under foreign influence, has again turned the tables on the teahouse’s customers, many of them bynow the sons and daughters of those in Act I and some of whom want to tear down the teahouse and replace it with shops full of foreign goods.

If at one level “Teahouse” seems like a primer on pre-Communist Chinese history, it is Lao She’s development of his characters over two generations that makes it exciting theater. A stellar cast of about 30 give a brilliant master class in ensemble acting, led by Liang Guanhua as Wang, Pu Cunxin as Master Chang and Yang Lixin as Master Qin. This is the first visit to New York by the Beijing People’s Art Theater, and I hope it returns again soon.

Photo by Beijing People’s Art Theatre (Not from published review.)

angtze Rep was the subject of one of the the very first podcasts for theater! Tune in to hear a conversation among the creative staff on two previous productions of our 2004-2005 season. No special equipment is required–you will download a .mp3 file that will play through your computer. This audio track may also be saved for later listening in Ipod devices. When you have listened to this pilot project, would you please email your thoughts to the podcast’s production team?

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