Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the publication of Ping Chong's Undesirable Elements: Real People, Real Lives, Real Theater. The volume includes four pieces of the Undesirable Elements series, as well as a section on methodology, interviews with collaborators, a complete production history and an introduction by Alisa Solomon. The publication is released in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the Undesirable Elements series, and Ping Chong & Company is celebrating in NYC with a festival at La MaMa October 18 – November 4.
"The cumulative power of these shared stories is nothing short of astonishing. Ping Chong creates a tremendous tapestry of lives." ? Twin Cities Reader
Undesirable Elements is a community-specific theatre works series that examines the lives of those born into one culture but living in another. Each production grows out of an extended residency, during which Ping Chong and his collaborators conduct interviews of community members and then create a script that explores both historical and personal narratives.
As Ms. Solomon notes in her Introduction:
In Chong's extraordinary series of choral documentary dramas, bodies that had once been rendered "undesirable elements" become-as bodies on stage always do, through the theatre's magical mechanisms of empathy and display-emphatically desirable. The performers-who are not professional actors-live in the community where they are performing and, most important, they are telling their own stories. Through the act of naming themselves and recounting how they came to be here-quite literally here, now, in the theater, as well as here in this town in the United States-they claim their place in the body politic. Theatre, like America, is a space of self-making. The Undesirable Elements series offers a distilled, elegant demonstration of that exhilarating and complicated process.
This new collection includes four pieces from the series: New York City (the original production, 1992), Children of War (2002), UE 92/06 (Anniversary Production, 2006) and Inside/Out…voices of the disability community (2008).
Ping Chong is an internationally acclaimed theatre director, playwright and pioneer in the use of media in the theater. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Artist Fellowship, two BESSIE awards and two OBIE awards, Mr. Chong's work has been presented at major festivals and theatres around the world throughout his 40-year career. His adaptation of Kurosawa's film Throne of Blood premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was presented at BAM's Next Wave Festival in 2010. His puppet theatre work Cathay: Three Tales of China was presented at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Kennedy Center, New Victory, the Vienna Festival, The People's Theater in Xi'an and the 2012 UNIMA Festival in Chengdu, China. In 1992, Ping Chong created the first work in the Undesirable Elements (UE) series. Since then, Ping Chong & Company (PCC) has created nearly 50 UE productions.