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Theater program to offer unique adaptation of ancient Chinese play

by UofL Today last modified Jan 26, 2011 03:26 PM

"The Orphan of Chao," Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St. 8 p.m. Feb. 2-5; 3 p.m. Feb. 6.

Tickets: $10 or $15 based on seating location, $6 for students. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more. Ticket Office: 502-852-6814 or at Thrust Theatre, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday–Friday.

The African American Theatre Program at the University of Louisville will present a unique adaptation of the classic 13th century Chinese play, "The Orphan of Chao" by setting the play in the year 2111 in a world marred by war and environmental disasters.

The adaptation will provide the audience with a fresh look at the play, said Lundeana Thomas, AATP director.

“The story will be told as seen through African American eyes, introducing elements of hip-hop and Yoruba themes of color, music and movement,” Thomas said. The Yoruba culture of West Africa is known for its distinctive traditions involving drumming and dance.

“We will take a play from its Yuan Dynasty China setting to an ecosphere dome surrounded by a toxic wasteland of biological and electronic waste,” Thomas said. “It is a story about family, sacrifice, revenge, murder and redemption.”

Besides Thomas, directors include Obie Award winner Paul Carter Harrison, who helped the student performers learn Yoruba theater traditions, and Kathryn Ervin, a California State University theater professor who is an expert on hip-hop expression and movement.

Northern Kentucky University theater professor Daryl Harris will direct costume design and United Scenic Artist member and Tony Award nominee Felix Cochren will oversee scene design.

The play includes performers from the community and UofL students.

The AATP is part of the university's Department of Theatre Arts.

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