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Dance the Railroad and Family Devotions

ISBN-10: 0822202654
ISBN-13: 9780822202653
Edition: N/A
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Description: THE STORIES: THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD. While his fellow workers are striking for higher pay, Lone, once an actor in China, exercises and practices alone on a mountaintop the ritual gestures used in Chinese opera. Ma, a slightly younger man, who  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1983
Binding: Paperback
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.198
Language: English

THE STORIES: THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD. While his fellow workers are striking for higher pay, Lone, once an actor in China, exercises and practices alone on a mountaintop the ritual gestures used in Chinese opera. Ma, a slightly younger man, who wishes to become an actor, approaches him. Lone spurns him and insults the naive young man, but Ma returns day after day, eventually convincing Lone to train him as an actor. As Lone trains Ma in the ways of the Chinese opera, he also heaps a good deal of abuse on him, trying to rid him of some of his gullibility and to dissuade him from pursuing acting if he does not truly have the drive to suffer through all the work necessary to become a master of the art. Ma, however, is quite determined in his desire to become an actor and finally wins over Lone, just as the Chinese workers win their strike. (2 men.) FAMILY DEVOTIONS. Ama and Popo, two elderly and devoutly Christian Chinese sisters, escaped with their family from China just before the Communist revolution. Their younger brother, Di-Gou, however, believed in the revolution, and returned to China. The two curmudgeonly sisters now live in Bel Air, California, with their daughters, Joanne and Hannah, and their daughters' prosperous husbands, Wilbur and Robert. The married couples have completely embraced some of the worst aspects of being American, waste and total self-involvement. Their children, however, Jenny and Chester, are not this way and are preparing their own escapes by one going to college and the other taking a job with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The whole family eagerly awaits a visit from Di-Gou, whom the sisters have not seen in over thirty years. When he arrives it is clear he is not the man his sisters remember: a religious young man who went out on a tour of China with a Christian evangelist and who had converted the family. Now Di-Gou does not believe in God, and when his sisters go so far as to tie him up and beat him to try and remove the demon spirit from his body, he reveals that the evangelist they have revered for so long was a fake with an illegitimate child. They refuse to believe this, but Di-Gou pursues the matter and even asks them to return to China and Chinese ways. But this request, along with the shock of the religious revelation, kills the elderly women. As their daughters react in horror, Di-Gou slips away and Jenny and Chester also begin to make their exits. (4 men, 5 women.)

The son of immigrant Chinese parents, Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale Drama School and has been a director and a teacher of playwriting. FOB (1981), which stands for "Fresh off the boat,"' explores the conflicts between two Chinese Americans and a Chinese exchange student still steeped in the customs and beliefs of the old world. It won an Obie Award in 1981. The Dance and the Railroad (1982) concerns an artist and his fellow workers who stage a strike to protest the inhuman conditions suffered by Chinese railroad workers in the American West in the nineteenth century. M Butterfly (1988), about the relationship between an American man and a Chinese transvestite, won the Tony Award as best play of the year. Maxine Hong Kingston wrote, "David Hwang has an ear for Chinatown English, the language of childhood and the subconscious, the language of emotion, the language of home."

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