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UofL theatre blends hip hop and opera for cultural exchange fundraiser

by Erica Walsh, communications and marketing last modified Apr 10, 2014 10:50 AM

The University of Louisville’s African American Theatre Program (AATP) is putting a modern spin on traditional Chinese opera in an upcoming preview performance.

“The Orphan’s Revenge,” the AATP’s hip hop version of the legendary Chinese opera “The Orphan of Chao,” will run April 18-20, at Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.

Often called the “Chinese Hamlet,” the original opera revolves around an orphan who vows revenge after he discovers his adopted father is responsible for his birth family’s demise.

Written in the 13th century, several adaptations of the play have premiered throughout the years in countries across the world. In “The Orphan’s Revenge,” the AATP incorporates hip hop and tells the story from the African American perspective. The AATP first performed the piece as a “hip hopera” in 2011 at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and the national Black Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The 2014 production is part of a cultural exchange program with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore headed by Wen Hai Ma. The performances and trip are sponsored by several organizations and individuals including the Center for Asian Democracy, Carla Wallace, Connie Shumake and the Office of the Vice President for Community Engagement.

Students will give a preview of “The Orphan’s Revenge” in Louisville before traveling from April 29-May 7 to perform the show in Singapore.

Tickets are $10. All proceeds support the AATP cultural exchange trip to Singapore. Show times are 8 p.m., April 18 and 19, and 3 p.m., April 20. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 502-852-8443.

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