Sat, Oct 28, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Tale by Taiwanese author to be performed in the US

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Author Chen Chih-yuan, left, and Hsin Yi Foundation chief executive Chang Sing-ju, center, pose with cast and crew of the Swedish Boulevardtheatre troupe to promote the company’s musical Guji Guji based on Chen’s book in an undated photograph.

Photo: Courtesy of the Hsin Yi Foundation

Children in New York City and the Washington area are in for a multicultural treat this weekend and next week as a children’s tale written by a Taiwanese author is brought to life by a small troupe of Swedish actors, on a tour that has been partially sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.

Pingtung-born author and illustrator Chen Chih-yuan’s (陳致元) best-selling 2003 book, Guji Guji (鱷魚鴨), about a crocodile raised by a family of ducks, struck a popular nerve with its tale of love, friendship, differences and similarities, and thinking for yourself.

Chen’s book has been translated into 15 languages, with the English-language version making it onto the New York Times bestseller list in 2005, and it has also become popular among educators and others as a way of explaining adoption and foster families to young children.

That is a bit of kismet, as Chen has said the inspiration for the story came from a friend of his who was adopted as a baby from South Korea by a family in the US.

In 2015, the Stockholm-based Boulevardtheatre turned the story into a musical aimed at young children.

The troupe brought the show to Taiwan in September last year at the invitation of the Hsin Yi Foundation, an organization that promotes early childhood education, and the IFKIDSTHEATRE, with support from the Swedish Council of Arts for a three-city tour.

This year the Hsin Yi Foundation teamed up with Swedish Arts Council, the Ministry of Culture, Barbro Osher Foundation and others to sponsor a US tour of Guji Guji that will see the Boulevardtheatre give two performances in New York City this weekend before moving on to Washington.

Their first show this afternoon is to be at Scandinavia House, while the second tomorrow is to be at the Queens Library in Flushing.

On Thursday the company is to perform at several public schools in Washington, followed on Friday by a show at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring and two shows on Saturday at the House of Sweden in Washington.

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