Header photo courtesy of Yuli Scheidt
By Jasmine Gui
In a culture where youth is prized, and the elderly are most often forgotten, Spring Moon not only dramatizes stories of Chinese seniors, but casts Chinese seniors to tell them as well.
Presented by the Mixed Company Theatre as part of The InterGEN Project, written by Diana Tso (Red Snow Collective), and directed by Karthy Chin, Spring Moon attempts a number of creative possibilities: it features a mixed cast of young, emerging actors alongside senior community performers; it is performed in four different languages (Cantonese, Mandarin, English and French); it tells stories based on real experiences shared by the elderly in the Toronto Chinese community. The play explores the impact of diasporic experiences on intergenerational relationships within the Toronto Chinese community context, staging relationships between three grandmothers and their granddaughters, weaving personal narratives with thematic explorations of language and culture.
The play was conceived and written from stories of seniors and youth in the Chinese community, shared during workshop sessions Diana Tso hosted at Broadview Manor and Francis Beavis Manor, Eastview Community Centre, Scadding Court Community Centre, Broadview Manor, The Phoenix Arts Academy, and Toronto Community Housing. In this way, Spring Moon is the result of earnest and intentional artistic collaboration created by, for and about the community.
“It’s been interesting because through workshop and discussion we have been able to pull from personal experiences to bridge the language gap, but the family units have also bonded amongst themselves and we are all working towards a bigger goal. I think we have all learned from each other.” – Karthy Chin (Director)
Diverse positionality is a luxury not often given to artistic representations of diasporic community. As immigrant communities continue to push for greater representation, we need to consider whose stories in our own community need to be spotlighted. No two diasporic pathways are exactly the same, and the inflections of geographical, linguistic, and cultural crossings impact each community, and each life differently. The experiences of our elders and the wisdom of having lived through years is a valuable inheritance. Immigration impacts community members across generations, and the accompanying isolation, disorientation, disembodiment and loss are internalized differently, and engaged with differently as well. There is need to hear many stories and many voices, from age to age.
Spring Moon centers the rippling stories of immigration and diaspora through generations, highlighting not just what gets lost, but also what is potentially found in the gaps between.
“I think it is the responsibility of our elders to practice and teach our traditions so that the next generation will not forget where they come from.” – Betty Chou (Community Actor, Senior)
“It is simply incredible, the stories and wisdom that our older performers have.” – Angela Sun (Actor, Youth)
You can watch Spring Moon from April 20th to 23rd at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance (304 Parliament Street).
Tickets can be purchased HERE.
For more information, visit: http://www.mixedcompanytheatre.com/2017/02/springmoon/