CATS presents M. Butterfly from April 11-May 4 in Nevada City

FOR ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY, Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra presents David Henry Hwang’s “M. Butterfly” from April 11-May 4 at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.

“M. Butterfly” opened at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., in 1988, transferred to Broadway and ran for an impressive 777 performances. It received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1988 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989.

With this play, CATS offers its audience a new experience. In “The White Snake,” “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” and “Journey to the West,” it presented Asian cultures on the stage while the Nevada Theatre seats were filled, mostly, with Westerners. The productions depicted the East so those of the West could enjoy, appreciate and learn.

In “M. Butterfly”, Hwang brings an intrigued Westerner to the stage so the audience can vicariously share in his experience of the East.

Rene Gallimard is a journeyman diplomat assigned to the French embassy in Beijing in the 1950s, and he tells us the troubled story of how he fell in love and was slowly compelled to realize that everything he believed about the “Orient” — as he calls it — was wrong.

In a sense, “M. Butterfly” is a mystery story, with Gallimard as the investigator and Song Liling as the object of his attentions. “M. Butterfly” is also a commentary on the cultural assumptions underlying the Puccini opera.

Hwang focuses on the motif of an Asian girl who sacrifices herself for the love of a Westerner, and he turns the “Butterfly” story upside-down.

The playwright himself presents a contemporary blend of East and West: A first-generation American, the son of Chinese immigrants, his father from Shanghai and his mother from the Philippines, born in Los Angeles, raised as a Christian fundamentalist, and educated at Stanford and Yale. CATS previously produced Hwang’s “Chinglish” and “Flower Drum Song.”

“M. Butterfly” is a landmark not only of Asian American theatre but of American theatre at large. It is an inter-weaving of laughter and tears, of politics and romance, of seduction and deception, and of East and West.” For mature audiences: contains adult content, language, and nudity.

CATS production of M. Butterfly is directed by Jeffrey Mason and Susan Mason. The cast:
Rene Gallimard Paul Micsan
Song Liling Sean Fenton
Marc Micah Cone
Renée Tina Kelley
Comrade Chin Michele Nesbit
Helga Kate Haight
M. Toulon Scott Young
Kurogo Dancers Audrey Delgado, Lisa Moon, Olivia Pritchett, Angela Williams

Visit CATSweb.org for tickets and more information.

Chinese New Year Festival
COMMUNITY ASIAN THEATRE OF THE SIERRA presents the Nevada City Chinese Lunar New Year Festival and Parade on Sunday, February 10, from noon-4 p.m., to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Chinese New Year Festivals are rare in rural communities, and CATS presents this eighth annual celebration, honoring the Chinese pioneers of the Sierra Foothills.

The parade begins at noon from the Chinese Monument, located at the entrance to the parking lot on Commercial Street, the site of the old Chinese Quarter.

Chinese ceremonial Lion Dancers and a 72-foot Chinese Dragon from Eastern Ways Martial Arts of Sacramento will prance down Commercial Street, with Grass Valley Taiko Drummers, school children, and others.

The parade will end at the Three Forks Bakery & Brewery Co. parking lot, where the Lion Dancers and Dragon dancers will lead an afternoon of Asian culture and entertainment. Food is available for sale by Kaliko’s Hawaiian Kitchen, along with homemade desserts by Xiao Mao (Little CATS Culture Club).

(Photo: Matthew Murphy; RCI Theatricals production of M. Butterfly)

Experiencing Shanghai
Unplanned adventures are often the best ones. This fall, I traveled to Shanghai, China for a week, thanks to a “mistake” air fare on Hong Kong Airlines. The airline mistakenly offered a $560 roundtrip airfares (in business class, no less) from San Francisco to Shanghai. I booked one, and to its credit, the airline honored the fare.

Shànghai: Few cities in the world evoke so much history, excess, glamour, mystique and exotic promise in name alone. I spent a week sightseeing, walking along The Bund, dining in the French Concession, and hearing the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. I visited the “old” (a Shikumen neighborhood with tightly packed alleys) and the “new” (Starbuck’s 30,000-sq.-ft. Reserve Roastery).
—JEFF PELLINE, PUBLISHER

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