Special Event Features Ping Chong & Company’s Documentary Theater Work-in-Progress “Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo”
Commissioned by Syracuse University, workshop reading performed at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center reflects the real-life experiences of Congolese refugees, promoting reconciliation
Washington, D.C. – Reflecting its commitment to social justice, Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program, in partnership with Syracuse University and in association with Syracuse Stage and Ping Chong & Company, will host a presentation of the new documentary theater work-in-progress “Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo” on Monday, September 19, at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre, located on Georgetown’s main campus. The performance at 5:30 p.m. will be followed by a 7 p.m. reception and 7:45 panel discussion exploring cultural diplomacy. Internationally renowned theater artist Ping Chong will also be meeting with Georgetown students during his visit to campus.
Syracuse University commissioned “Cry for Peace”, which was written by Ping Chong and Syracuse Stage dramaturg Kyle Bass, with Sara Zatz, associate director of Ping Chong & Company, in collaboration with the Congolese community of Syracuse. Cyprien Mihigo, a member of the Congolese community and Syracuse alumnus, served as dramaturg and cultural consultant for the project. Based on interviews with refugees from the ongoing wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some of whom perform in the work, the piece had three workshop presentations at Syracuse Stage in December 2010.
There are approximately 200 Congolese in Syracuse, NY, representing 12 different tribes with a violent past hanging between them – victims and perpetrators living in close proximity. Although they’ve escaped the conflict in their homeland, tensions and mistrust remain. Based on their first-hand experiences of fleeing war and their efforts to build community and reconciliation in their adopted community, Cry for Peace is part of Undesirable Elements, Ping Chong & Company’s ongoing series of community-specific oral history theater works. Each production draws on the life experiences of the participants, who tell their stories in their own words, shaped in rehearsal to create a vivid and compelling theatrical narrative. Since 1992, more than 40 productions have been made across the United States and abroad, exploring themes as far ranging as disability, Native American identity, Asian American identity, and the experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse.
The Cry for Peace project aims to promote healing, unity, and reconciliation among local ethnic groups and individuals in the Congolese community, and peace in the Congo. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a performance that can one day be presented in the Congo.
“We are honored to be hosting this special event from the remarkable and internationally acclaimed Ping Chong & Company, as well as our distinguished colleagues from Syracuse,” says Prof. Derek Goldman, artistic director of the Davis Performing Arts Center. “Cry for Peace is an urgent and moving work that embodies all we most value at Georgetown in terms of performance’s capacity to speak across cultural boundaries to issues of international human rights, and to foster rigorous dialogue and awareness.”
Cry for Peace is free, but ticketed.
The timeline for the evening follows:
5:30-7:00 p.m. Performance
7:00-7:45 p.m. Lobby reception with food
7:45-8:45 p.m. Panel discussion
This special event is part of the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program’s “Nature’s Mirror: A Season of Evil and Noble Acts.” The 2011-12 season is generously supported by C74. For more information, visit http://performingarts.georgetown.edu or call (202) 687-ARTS (2787) Monday through Friday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Georgetown University’s main campus is located at 3700 O St. NW, in Washington, D.C.
Ping Chong is an internationally acclaimed director, playwright, video installation artist and pioneer in the use of media in the theater. His work has been presented at major festivals and theaters, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music, La MaMa E.T.C, Spoleto USA Festival, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the New Victory Theater, the Barbican Centre, Vienna Festival and many others. His puppet theater production, “Cathay: Three Tales of China,” created with the Shaanxi Folk Art Theater of Xian,
China, was chosen as one of the top 10 productions of the 2005 season by NY Theatre Wire, and recently had its Chinese premiere in Xian. Since 1992, he has created more than 40 works in the “Undesirable Elements” series, including “Tales from the Salt City” at Syracuse Stage in 2008. In
2010, “The Devil You Know” premiered at La MaMa as part of the 2010 Under The Radar Festival, and “Throne of Blood” was presented at BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Among his many honors and awards, Chong has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two BESSIE awards and two OBIE awards, including one for sustained achievement in 2000.
Kyle Bass is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow (fiction in 1998, playwriting in 2010) and a finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Award. His plays have been produced by The Kitchen Theatre, Appleseed Productions, Armory Square Playhouse and the Syracuse Stage
“Backstory!” program. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Bass’ work has appeared in the journals Stone Canoe (for which he serves as drama editor), Folio and Callaloo, among other publications. Bass is on the faculty at Goddard College, where he teaches in the M.F.A. creative writing program, and also teaches playwriting at SU. Bass holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College.
Ping Chong & Company was founded in 1975 to create and tour innovative works of theater and art that explore the intersection of race, history, culture and technology in the modern world. The New York–based nonprofit company has produced more than 70 works by Chong and his collaborators, toured widely in the United States and throughout the world, and received numerous honors and awards. Ping Chong & Company is a 501(c) 3 organization. For more information, visit www.pingchong.org.
Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program integrates creative and critical inquiry, emphasizing artistic excellence, interdisciplinary learning, a commitment to social justice, and the spirit of collaboration. With a dynamic major in Theater and Performance Studies, the Program features a nationally recognized faculty, including leading scholar/artists, and many of the region’s leading professional theater practitioners. One of the country’s only undergraduate programs in Theater and Performance Studies, this fast-growing program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, reflecting the political and international character of Georgetown, and for its high-quality, cutting-edge student production seasons. Through the Davis Center, the Program foregrounds new work development, classics re-visioned, interdisciplinary programming, and collaboration across faculty, students and guest artists.
A partial and rapidly growing list of luminaries whom we have hosted and collaborated with in the Davis Center includes: Edward Albee, Daniel Beaty, Belarus Free Theatre, Theodore Bikel, Irina Brown, Kathleen Chalfant, The Civilians, Dan Conway, Nilo Cruz, DAH Theatre, David Dower, Joe Dowling, Olympia Dukakis, Christopher Durang, David Edgar, Rick Foucheux, Michael Friedman, Marcus Gardley, Ed Gero, Nadine George-Graves, Katori Hall, Danny Hoch, David Henry Hwang, Michael Kahn, Moises Kaufman, Josh Kornbluth, Liz Lerman, Emily Mann, David Muse, Pig Iron Theater, Sister Helen Prejean, Heather Raffo, Clint Ramos, Tim Raphael, Stephen Richard, Michael Rohd, Ari Roth, Howard Shalwitz, Sojourn Theater, Molly Smith, Tony Taccone, Target Margin Theater, Tectonic Theater Project, Irina and Paata Tsikurishvili, John Waters, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Charles Randolph Wright, Karen Zacarías, Mary Zimmerman, Joy Zinoman, and many others.
Syracuse University, chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, is propelled by the bold idea of Scholarship in Action—education that is not static, but the living expression of insight that drives change. It is a place where students become leaders, teachers, and collaborators and where the community is continually impacted by the energy of new ideas.
Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premier professional theater. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 230 plays in 37 seasons, including a number of world, American and East Coast premieres. Each season, 90,000 patrons enjoy an adventurous mix of new plays and bold interpretations of classics and musicals featuring the finest theater artists. In addition, Stage maintains a vital educational outreach program that annually
serves more than 30,000 students from 24 counties. A solid core of subscribers and supporters helps keep Syracuse Stage a vibrant artistic presence in Central New York. Additional support comes from the government, foundations, corporations and SU. Syracuse Stage is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA), the University Hill Corporation and the East Genesee Regent Association. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association in the country. For more information, visit www.syracusestage.org.