CATS’ Journey to the West

THE COMMUNITY ASIAN THEATRE of the Sierra (CATS) opens its 19th season with the popular Journey to the West, based on the 16th-century comic novel by Wu Ch’eng-en. The show runs April 11-May 4, at the Nevada Theatre in downtown Nevada City.

This adaptation by Tony award-winning playwright, Mary Zimmerman, is about the adventures of four characters, the “Monkey King,” the “Monk,” the “Pig,” and the “River Monster” in their quest for enlightenment.

Journey to the West has its roots in the true story of a ninth-century monk (Hsuan Tsang) and his 16-year pilgrimage from China to India in search of sacred texts. The length of his journey is equivalent to traveling from Maine to California today. Hsuan Tsang learned to speak Sanskrit and amassed a treasure trove of Buddhist scriptures. He brought these back to the Emperor in China, and the facts probably end there. He became famous and mythical over the years, as people created legends about his pilgrimage.

Tales were told, and stories written, the most popular being, Monkey Folk Novel of China. Even today, these four characters appear in comic books and cartoons all over Asia.

It is one of the most popular books in the Far East. Mixing whimsy with spiritual weight, Zimmerman’s script combines comedy, adventure, drama, and satire in a moving allegory of human perseverance.

The CATS production features original music by Tynowyn Woolman, Lisa Stine and Lesley Schneider join her in the music ensemble.

Creating Journey to the West is a Foothill Theatre Company (FTC) “reunion.” Members of the creative team were involved with FTC from the late 1970s-1990s—director Diane Fetterly, Tynowyn Woolman, Tim Dugan, Michael Baranowski, Teresa Shea (now a scenic and costume designer in L.A.) and Tom Taylor, CATS’ technical director for the past seven years.

Joining these FTC veterans are Katherine Scourtes (properties designer), Sara Quay (hair and make-up designer) and Jessica Guise (stage manager).

Visit Catsweb.org for ticket information.

Chinese New Year
CATS will help ring in the Lunar New Year 4711, the Year of the Snake. Join CATS and others for food, dragon dances, martial arts, entertainment, tea tasting and more. Festivities begin with traditional Chinese lion-dancing.

Nevada City
Sunday, February 17
12-3 p.m.

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