Lafayette, CO 80026
Three generations of westernized Chinese women/musicians: two are world-class virtuosos, another gave up a music career to only become a neurosurgeon! They gather to celebrate Grandma’s 80th birthday in Gandolfo Italy, the Pope’s summer home, because Grandma wants to see the Pope before she kicks!
Cellist Grandma, battling the onset of dementia, doggedly keeps smoking while practicing her tai ji chuan and music, maintaining her dragon-lady fierceness towards her progeny. Then there are her two step-daughters: genius conductor Da Jieh, ever haunted by her conductor father’s non-support, hasn’t conducted for two years; Shiow May mourns her violin prodigy past which she gave up for the good life and a philandering conductor husband; Granddaughter Sabrina struggles with her mother Shiow May’s disappointment that she chose medicine over a concert pianist career. Being a top notch neurosurgeon just isn't good enough!
Secrets, jealousies, lost dreams and future hopes collide as the action unfolds with humor and grace in a lush villa, underscored by strains of Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Strauss Jr., Tchaikovsky, Chinese folk and milonga – music of the barrios of Buenos Aires, the Spanish Pope’s favorite music. What is Grandma’s secret? Can Da Jieh overcome her ghosts? Will Shiow May face the consequences of her own choices? Can Sabrina forgive her mother’s disapproval?
This is Maria Cheng’s sixth full-length play, in which she forays into a life-long passion, western classical music. While exploring the burdens of virtuosity, the politics of art making and the purpose of music, she also attempts to unravel the dilemma of what price is paid when one does or doesn’t honor one’s authentic self.
Cecilia Pang, Professor of Theater at University of Colorado, Boulder, directs, with Maria Cheng as Da Jieh, Munam Goodwyn as Shiow May, Lori Hansen as Grandma, and Samantha Saunders as Sabrina. TCL & TEA also welcome stage manager Joaquin Aviña, lighting designer Brian Miller and set designer Biz Schaugaard.
This production is made possible in part by funding from the Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission.