Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America presented “Midnight Kill,”
written, directed and designed by K.K. Wong.
In a Chinese mountain hamlet in the 1970s, a school teacher’s murder
reveals twisted, oppressed but indelible human desires.

In “Midnight Kill,” written and directed by K.K. Wong, a school campus in a Chinese rural village during the 1970’s becomes a theater of twisted, oppressed but indelible human desires. Daily mundane activities become an absurd performance of ordinary people’s basic emotions. The play is based around an actual murder story that occurred in a mountain hamlet in Anhui province (China), where the author lived for five years. Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America will present the work’s world premiere May 6 to 22 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., NYC. It will be performed in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles and will be completely accessible for English-speaking audiences.

The play is a drama set among the teachers of a small elementary school in a rural farming village in northern China during the early 1970s, when China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was at its height. Under the country’s autocratic rule, extreme forms of collectivism, asceticism, and class warfare ran rampant in every corner of the country. In this crucible of passion, ideology and deprivation, a married woman has been having an affair with a young teacher. The play opens with the scene where the teacher has already killed the woman. The rest of the play traces their relationship as a flash back, eventually revealing the motivations behind the killing.

The style of the play is symbolic and somewhat abstract, drawing the audience’s attention to the internal world of the characters. It isn’t a mystery per se, but it is designed to create suspense and anticipation. K.K. Wong writes, “I am just trying to present what was the general nature of ordinary people and how it was deformed, distorted and twisted in that particular environment. I hope the audience will simply get to know these people, who lived in the that small village far in Anhui, China in 70’s, with their their loves and hatreds, their hopes and their efforts to survive.”

The stage design simulates two locations at a different times of the day in the village. Throughout the performance, the cast members will strategically shuffle stage elements to convert and merge the spaces into new scenes.

The actors are Robert Cheung, Chun Cho, Shan Y Chuang, Qihao Huang, Wanning Jen, Arthur Lai, Chien-Lun Lee, Jia Hui Xiong and Bingcong Zhu

Set design is by K.K. Wong. Lighting design is by Yi-Chung Chen. Composer and sound designer is Xiren Wang. Costume design is by Kevin Yang. Translator is Hai-Ying Li.

K.K. Wong (author, director, set designer) is a Cantonese born in Shanghai. He moved to Hong Kong and developed an impressive career both there and in China in the fine and performing arts, as a designer, painter and actor. His 60′ x 10′ calligraphy mural for the dance production of General YueFei for the Asian Festival in Hong Kong caused a sensation and established his fame as an artist. Subsequently, he served as set designer for Hong Kong Dance Companies’ production of “Red Snow, Lady Yu and Yellow Earth” that appeared in Beijing in 1988. Mr. Wong’s calligraphy has been collected by Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Hong Kong Dance Company and other Japanese and overseas companies. His paintings are represented by MMI of contemporary arts in New York, and have been collected in the US, Germany, Malaysia and museums and galleries in China and in Hong Kong. A character actor both on stage and on screen, Mr. Wong had appeared in films and television series in China and Hong Kong. He migrated with his family to this country and made New York his home in 1989. He is Co-Artistic Director of Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America.

This production is made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature. It is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council.