Beijing to Melbourne to Boston: “Made in China 2.0”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
A Malthouse Theatre Production
Written & Performed by Wang Chong   
Codirected & Production designed by Emma Valente  
Codesigned by Emma Lockhart Wilson  
Dramaturgy by Mark Pritchard

February 1 – 12, 2023
American Sign Language Performance – Saturday, February 11 at 2:00 PM 
Audio Described Performance – Sunday, February 12 at 2:00 PM 
Emerson Paramount Center 
Jackie Liebergott Black Box 
559 Washington Street 
Boston, MA 02111

Recommended for Ages 16+
60 minutes, no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — ArtsEmerson respectfully asked journalists attending Wang Chong’s Made in China 2.0 to please refrain from discussing certain topics in an email days before the performance. They did this to ensure Chong’s safety while he visits the US and when he eventually leaves the US. Boston can be dangerous. 

Journalists were encouraged to discuss Chong as an artist, his previous work, how his work was received, and his upcoming work. We were asked to be sensitive when discussing Chong’s style of theatre-making and why it’s considered risky. 

I readily agreed to ArtsEmerson’s request. Freedom of speech is important to me. The sanctity of human life is too. America loves freedom! 

Since it’s so difficult to discuss Chong Wang, I will tell a story about seeing a show by different Chinese artists instead. 

My wife and I attended “Shen Yun 2022” on April 3 last year for my birthday. I’d seen the advertisements for years all over Chinatown. They are everywhere! I think Shen Yun memes are funny. 

I was curious about “Shen Yun.” My wife was not. But, it was my birthday. Tickets to see “Shen Yun” and pho for dinner after were all I wanted.

My wife relented because they love me. They purchased tickets. We got dressed up. We saw the show and ate yummy pho in Chinatown. 

The silk sleeve dance was my favorite part. The pretty lady dancers threw their pink and yellow sleeves into the air and caught them. They were so graceful and flexible! 

My least favorite part was the dance about the Chinese government harvesting organs from Falun Dafa practitioners. I believe organ donations are between a patient and a doctor.

Because I am an American citizen, I misunderstand a lot of what the Chinese government tells its people. It’s those pesky mistranslations. Traditional Chinese dance sure is different from American dance!

We had a great time at “Shen Yun 2022.” I love a science fiction musical about sexy, flying Christian space prophets dancing to save China from harmful influences! It was a cold day, so pho warmed us up right away.

I think it is good that the people involved in “Shen Yun” can practice their art in the United States. It makes me very sad that they can’t perform it in some other countries. I know that I feel that way because I was born in the US. I am lucky. 

I’m glad my experiences then could help me write this article now. Aside from the parts about science fiction in “Shen Yun,” there are a lot of similarities between the two shows and what the artists are trying to tell us. 

Please go see Wang Chong’s Made in China 2.0. Mr. Chong worked very hard on his show. It is very good: he is creative, has good pacing, and uses images you will recognize from the internet and on the street. Mr. Chong has a lot to teach us about what it is to be a human being. 

Here is his bio: 

Wang Chong is the founder of Beijing-based performance group Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental. He is the most internationally commissioned Chinese theater director. His works have been performed in 20 countries. Wang’s productions include: The Warfare of Landmine 2.0 (2013 Festival/Tokyo Award), Lu Xun (2016 Beijing News Best Chinese Performance), Teahouse 2.0, (2018 One Drama Awards Best Little Theater Work), Waiting for Godot (live online performance with 290,000 audience), and The Plague (live online performance with artists working from 6 continents). He is currently working on his solo show Made in China 2.0 (Malthouse Theatre) and two documentary films.

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist who works with images of llamas sometimes. He looks like he’s having fun! Llamas are soft. Weiwei had an art installation on Harvard University’s campus in 2011 called “5,335 Backpacks.” It’s so nifty when international artists visit locally!

If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation. Every cent earned goes towards the upkeep and continuation of the New England Theatre Geek.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Comments are closed.