January 31, 2023 | Theatre,
Who is Wang Chong, creator of Made in China 2.0?
Made in China 2.0 is being hailed by Boston audiences as “brave,” “illuminating,” and “powerful,” so who is the artist behind this one-person-tour-de-force? Wang Chong, the creator of Made in China 2.0 is a director, translator, performer, and writer based in Beijing.
In 2008, he founded Beijing-based performance group, Théatre du Rêve Expérimental, in which he holds the position of artistic director as well as founder. Théatre du Rêve Expérimental is considered to be one of the most active touring theatrical groups in China and one of the newest Chinese theater groups to tour overseas. They have produced and performed over fifteen shows in China, as well as touring internationally in many countries, such as: the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Japan, to name a few. Chong is the most internationally commissioned theater director from China.
Chong’s work can be considered avant garde, unconventional, radical, and experimental. Chong pushes the boundaries of what is typically expected out of a theatrical production; he has a history of incorporating other artistic mediums into his theatrical work. He is inspired both by his experience as a Chinese man and the world around him, as well as different trends and even pop culture.
One of Chong’s most acclaimed works is a 2020 production of the classic Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Godot. Due to the various lockdown restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he adapted this piece to be an online performance. Chong, his crew, and the actors in this production were unable to work on the show in-person due to the lockdown. Chong wrote these pandemic implications into this production, with both the actors and their respective characters grappling with the effects of the pandemic. This production of Waiting for Godot was performed live via live-streaming and received a record number of attendees; about 290,000 people watched the performance.
In addition to creating his own works, Chong has also translated existing theatrical works for their Chinese debuts. These works include The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, Crave by Sarah Kane, and Hamletmachine by Heiner Muller. In addition to translating, Chong directed all of these shows for their Chinese premieres.
Chong and Théatre du Rêve Expérimental have received many awards for their work including: a Festival/Tokyo Award for The War of Landmine 2.0, a One Drama Award for The Best Little Theater Performance of the Year for Teahouse 2.0, and production Lu Xun was noted as “The Best Chinese Performance of the Year” by The Beijing News. Additionally he has received the prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard University, the Han Suyin Award for Young Translators, the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in New York, and The Beijing News dubbed Chong as “the New Artist of the Year.”
Chong’s latest production is Made In China 2.0 which will be having its world premiere at ArtsEmerson on February 1st. In Made in China 2.0, Chong reflects on his personal experiences of creating theater internationally and how that intersects with his identity as a Chinese man, as well as the global expectations of China itself. It explores Chong’s own thoughts and meditations on topics like family, pop culture, and his role as an artist.
Be sure to see Made in China 2.0 at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson College Paramount Center before it closes on Sunday, February 12th, 2023. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Paige Walker, February 2023