Up next at the Arts Club is Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap. Set in 1989, this play follows Chinese basketball coach Wen Chang (Jovanni Sy), a quiet Party supporter, and Manford (Milton Lim), a kid with hustle from San Francisco’s Chinatown who makes up for his short stature with tenacious baller skill. As the story jumps back and forth in time, tensions rise right up to the final buzzer and history collides at the leap for a 3-point shot. More than just a play about basketball, The Great Leap is a cultural exploration of family, sacrifice, and cultural and political difference.
The cultural and political difference in the play centres on the Chinese student demonstrations in 1986–89, which were inspired by widespread discontent with high-level government corruption, inflation, and growing income inequality. Demands to reveal the salaries and wealth of government officials, stop press censorship, raise the wages of intellectuals, and increase government spending on education led to a seven-week protest in Tiananmen Square. On June 4, 1989, the Chinese government ordered troops to circle the square and to open fire on unarmed demonstrators and journalists recording the event. It is unknown how many were killed, but the death toll is estimated to be near 10,000.
Director Meg Roe says, “In the early days of rehearsing this show, our company had a long conversation covering a myriad of questions and curiosities provoked by this beautiful play. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an inspiring, run-and-gun company of artists, and I thank [Assistant Director and Cultural Creative Consultant] Jasmine Chen for her creative, potent, rigorous, and invaluable contribution to this production.”
Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran says, “I fell in love with this play immediately after reading it. The characters have heart, the plot continues to twist and turn, and the political ideas are present without being didactic. I love the athleticism—in the overt writing of the piece, but also within its structure, as it takes temporal and geographic leaps.”
April 25–May 19, 2019
Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre
Tue–Thu at 7:30 PM, Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Wed at 1:30 PM, and Sat & Sun at 2 PM
Tickets from $29 at artsclub.com or the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644.
Join DARPAN Magazine community on socialmedia!