Playwright Chi Wei-jan’s new work Playing the Violin has received rave reviews since it premiered last week at the National Theater. The play — Chi’s first theatrical work since his novel Private Eyes came out last year — is being widely hailed among thespian circles as his greatest play to date. Chi has even been invited to read an English version of the play in New York next year at a master class event for contemporary Chinese playwrights.
Chinese American playwright David Henry Hwang, winner of the Tony Award for his play M. Butterfly and currently a playwright-in-residence at the New York-based theater company Signature Theatre, is organizing a master class event to read contemporary Chinese plays, which is to be held in New York from March 10 to 18 next year. Four playwrights from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been invited to the master class, including Beijing’s Meng Jinghui, Shanghai’sYu Rongjun, and Hong Kong’s Chong Mui-ngam, while Chi will be there to represent Taiwan. Chi says that he will read his new play at the event, and says that it is in the process of being translated into English, which will be read by local professional actors.
Chi says that the event is a great opportunity to share his work with a New York audience, even though it is just a reading and not an actual performance. Out of all his works, Chi feels that his newest work — Playing the Violin — is the most appropriate for the reading because it deals with specific issues, including the excessive Americanization of Taiwan and the plight of contemporary intellectuals.
Playing the Violin is Chi’s first theatrical work in five years. Chi’s style of black humor, along with his shrewd social and cultural observations, and candidly forthright introspections, are all blended together in the trenchant new play.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)