1867, Anti-Oppression, Anti-Stereotype, Asian-American, Assertiveness, Bravery, California, Chinese, Chinese Opera, Dignity, Double Bill, Dream, Emigration, Flute, Guan Gung, Immigrant, Kaisei Hogo, Kendo, Meiji, Occidental, Oriental, Pioneering, Railroad, Railway, Rocky Mountains, Rubber Estate, Shakuhachi, Sierra Nevada, Strength, Strike, Tin Mine, Travel, Workers, Zen,
Everyone must earn the right to plan Guan Gung.
Bits of my heart are trapped with travellers across the land.
I wasn’t born to work on a railroad.
The Dance and The Railroad – a story of two railroad workers in the Sierra Nevada mountains, based on the Chinese Railroad Workers’ Strike of 1867 – was David Hwang’s attempt at a historical piece. It contradicted popularly held stereotypes then – that coolie labourers in America were passive and weak – and showed instead assertive men who were brave enough to retain their basic human dignity and fight for their rights under the most oppressive circumstances. Their struggle for dignity, their strength, their dreams, are reminiscent of TheatreWorks’ pioneering spirit. It is a play with a cultural identity – an Asian culture with an American touch, dramatically blending Oriental and Occidental styles.
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