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The Dance and the Railroad & Family Devotions

6 Male, 5 Female

David Henry Hwang Price: $9.99

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 (m2)

A haunting and powerfully affecting work revolving around two Chinese artists and their fellow railroad workers, who stage a strike to protest the inhuman conditions suffered by the Chinese laborers in the American West of 1867

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, who 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 (M4,F5)

A biting, probing play which centers on the conflict between a Christianized Chinese-American family and a pagan Chinese relative who comes to visit them in their lush California home

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