Real People, Real Lives, Real Theater
“The cumulative power of these shared stories is nothing short of astonishing. Ping Chong creates a tremendous tapestry of lives.”—Twin Cities Reader
“More than just telling each moving story, Chong’s ingenious chronological script gracefully demonstrates where the lives of these diverse characters have intertwined.”—Chicago Tribune
“Every society should have a mirror held to it by the outsider,” says Ping Chong, internationally renowned theater artist and creator of Undesirable Elements, a series of community-specific theater works that examine the lives of people born into one culture but living in another, either by choice or circumstance. Each production grows out of an extended residency, during which Chong and his collaborators conduct interviews with members of the community, creating a script that explores their historical and personal narratives. This volume collects three of the pieces—the original template created fifteen years ago, Children of War from 2002, and the most recent incarnation from 2006—and contains an introduction by Alisa Solomon, who notes: “One of the pleasures of the piece is its smashing of stereotypes and its disdain for essentialism” (The Village Voice).
Ping Chong is a theater director, playwright, choreographer, and video and installation artist. Since 1972, he has created more than fifty works for the stage, including twenty-five works in his Undesirable Elements series. He is the recipient of two Obie Awards, two Bessie Awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and his work has been performed at major museums, festivals, and theaters throughout the Americas.