Thursday, March 7, 2013


Last night I was offered an impromptu ticket to a play, Chinglish, that has finished its run on Broadway and is now on tour.  It is showing in Hong Kong as part of the Arts Festival.  I had read some reviews of the play while I was still in New York, but never got around to booking tickets or going to see it.  So I jumped at the offer to attend with some friends last night.

I don't know if it was because I went in with low expectations (or barely any expectations, having only a very vague idea of what the play was about), but it was really great.  I laughed (probably inappropriately loudly) at many segments of the play.  About a businessman from Cleveland, Ohio, down on his luck and trying to resurrect his family signage business, the play follows him as he bravely attempts to navigate the intricate bureaucracies of a small Chinese town.  Amid the multiple misunderstandings and revelations as things are constantly "lost in translation," hilarity ensues. 

It was witty, clever without being cloying, and in so many ways, spot on.  I think any person who has had to do business in China, or really just anyone who has spent some time on the mainland, would have delighted in the many pertinent points in this play.  Hong Kong seemed like the perfect setting for this performance.

It was particularly nice for me because it was a play in two languages, so I tried to focus less on the subtitles (they had Chinese subtitles for the English speaking bits, and English subtitles for the Mandarin speaking bits) and just listen to their dialogue.   I'm so impressed with the actors - they not only had to juggle their lines, but remember in which language to deliver said lines.  That can't be an easy feat.

All in all, this has me resolving to get out of my little homebody routine and venture forth in pursuit of more cultural activities.  I've forgotten how much I love this stuff!

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