Dream of the Red Chamber

at the Edward Vincent Park Amphitheater

The eighteenth-century masterpiece The Dream of the Red Chamber (also known as The Story of the Stone), written by Cao Xueqin (1715 or 1724-1763 or 1764) but unfinished at his death and only first published in 1791, is the supreme embodiment of late imperial Chinese culture (and Manchu).

The story, often understood to be largely autobiographical, details the decline of the Jia family during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and revolves around the tragic love story of Bao-yu (Precious Jade) and his cousin, Dai-yu (Black Jade).

Henry Ong’s adaptation of The Dream of the Red Chamber is the first known stage version in English of this epic Chinese classic. Ong paints an interpretation that would hint at the convoluted story in all its magnificence; hence, the length (almost six-hours). It features more than 70 characters, drawn from the novel’s 30 main characters and more than 400 minor ones.

Dream was originally commissioned by the City of Los Angeles Public Library’s Library Foundation. Two readings were held in Mark Taper Auditorium in 2000 in conjunction with “Visible Traces,” a landmark exhibit from the National Library of China that included rare books, maps and lavish silk scrolls and other treasures from the Ming Dynasty. In Fall 2015, excerpts of the play were presented at the Huntington’s Chinese Gardens for its Mid-Autumn Moon Celebration.

In February of 2017, The City of Inglewood awarded an Inglewood Growing Artists Performed Project (IGAPP) contract in order to stage his six-hour adaptation. Also known by it’s IGAPP program designation Why Dream in Inglewood?, the play, Dream of the Red Chamber, will be presented in four 90-minute acts offered over three Saturdays; audiences can pick and choose when to attend so as to cover the entire story.

Featuring choreography by Annie Yee and sound composition by Longo Chu (with thanks to composer Ryan KcKasson for the use of Sarah-Jane Summers. Co-produced and directed by Henry Ong and Kila Kitu.

Edward Vincent Park Amphitheater
Saturdays, April 22 – May 27
714 Warren Land
Inglewood, California

Admission is free. Rehearsals and performances are open to the public.
Saturday, April 22
10:30am Act I
12:30pm Act II
Saturday, May 20
10:30am Act III
12:30pm Act IV
Saturday, May 27
10:30am Act I
12:30pm Act II
2:30pm Act III
4:30pm Act IV

Edward Vincent Park Amphitheater
Saturdays, April 22 – May 27
714 Warren Land
Inglewood, California

Admission is free. Rehearsals and performances are open to the public.

Saturday, April 22
10:30am Act I
12:30pm Act II

Saturday, May 20
10:30am Act III
12:30pm Act IV

Saturday, May 27
10:30am Act I
12:30pm Act II
2:30pm Act III
4:30pm Act IV

In the year 2000, I received a commission by the Los Angeles Public Library to write a play that would complement a rare book exhibit from the National Library of China. I immediately thought of the eighteenth-century masterpiece The Dream of the Red Chamber. The novel is also known as The Story of the Stone. Written by Cao Xueqin (1715 or 1724-1763 or 1764) but remained unfinished at his death, it was only first published in 1791. The classic work is considered the supreme embodiment of late imperial Chinese culture (and Manchu). Often understood to be largely autobiographical, the story details the decline of the Jia family during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and revolves around the tragic love story of Bao-yu (Precious Jade) and his cousin, Dai-yu (Black Jade).

Instinctively, I knew that, even with trimming the number of main characters (30) and minor ones (400), this adaptation would have to be about six-hours long in order to embrace all the intricacies of the story. We did a first reading at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library that spring in two sessions (Acts I and II on one day, and Acts III and IV on another).

In the meantime, no theaters were interested in a six-hour play; and thus Dream languished in my flash drive until two years ago, when the then curator of the Chinese Garden for the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens contacted me to ask if I would be interested in presenting Dream. I jumped at the opportunity, and we showcased excerpts from the play at the Huntington’s Mid-Autumn Lunar Festival that year. Sadly, the curator left his post shortly after, and it looked, once again, as if the play would remain unexplored.

Subsequently, last year, I heard about the Inglewood Growing Artists Performed Project (IGAPP) initiative and decided to apply. Happily, the proposal I submitted was accepted, and here we are! The Inglewood Amphitheater is the perfect place for artists to explore the world of The Dream of the Red Chamber. We hope you will come and share with us this experience!

Ong is an active member of the Dramatist Guild. His website is www.henryong.org

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Henry Ong

Playwright, Director
Henry is an internationally-produced playwright. Credits include: Fabric (Company of Angels), Sweet Karma (Queen’s Theatre in the Park, New York, Grove Theater Center, Los Angeles), Rachel Ray, (Pacific Resident Theatre, the Co-Op), Madame Mao’s Memories (Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, et. al), People Like Me (Playwrights’ Arena) and Legend of the White Snake (Eagle Rock Center for the Arts), The Masseur, Ascent, and Nina Balatka. He has conducted many oral history workshops in various communities. He is a 16-time recipient of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence grants. Ong is an active member of the Dramatist Guild.

Kila Kitu

Director, Producer
A SAG-AFTRA; Actor’s Equity Association actor, author and producer, Kila is dedicated to bringing to life stories reflecting our global spectrum. Recent projects include the first and second Los Angeles engagements of The Every 28 Hours Plays (for which she received commendations from the Office of Assemblyman Mike Gipson), as well as the last two iterations of the NAACP-nominated Black Women State of the Union. Directing credits include: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Playing Juliet/Casting Othello, As You Like It, Pericles, Measure for Measure, and The Colored Museum. Acting credits include: E.R. (NBC), Frasier (NBC), The Shield (F/x), Tree (EST-LA), Black Women: State of the Union (BWSOTU), Playing Juliet/Casting Othello (Folger Shakespeare), Merchant of Venice (Washington Shakespeare Company). KilaKitu.org
Kila Kitu Director, Producer

Longo Chu

Composer
Longo Chu performs on the violin and cello and produces musical arrangements and compositions in a variety of styles. He played in student music groups as he was growing up and then served in music, directing in the Military Police Band in Taiwan before moving to Los Angeles in 1997. He is currently affiliated with Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, a Celtic music group “Speyside”, and a rock band “Sean Hughes and Space Kings.” His previous experience composing and performing for the theater started with “Creative Instructions from My Crummy Life” by Margaret Kemp and has involved several projects, including works by the playwright Henry Ong.

Simon Giddings

Graphic Designer
Simon is a Senior Creative living and working in the UK. He managed to escape for five years to live and work in Sweden as a graphic designer for IKEA. Simon currently works for a small creative agency nestled in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside.

Simon Giddings

Stella Ong

Company Manager
Stella is delighted to stage assist in yet another of Henry Ong’s epic projects. (As his sister, she is, of course, his biggest fan!) Having been a manager in the academic personnel field in her previous work life, she is screamingly familiar with coping and meeting critical deadlines. She is gratified by the diversity of the Dream cast and crew and feels privileged to be surrounded by such creative, artistic individuals.

Annie Yee

Choreographer
Annie is very happy to be doing choreography for “Dream of the Red Chamber” and reuniting with Henry Ong. Her last project was choreographer for “The Golden Dragon” at the Theater at Boston Court directed by Michael Michetti, where she earned a Scenie Award and was an Ovation and Broadway World L.A. nominee for Best Choreography. Before that, she was the Chinese dance consultant for “Pearl” at the Lincoln Center, directed and choreographed by Daniel Ezralow. She also choreographed “Made in Bangkok” at the Mark Taper Forum, directed by Robert Egan, and “Badges” at Los Angeles Theater Center, directed by Luis Valdez. Annie is an Assistant Professor of Dance Specialties at East Los Angeles College. She was also a Laker Girl during the Showtime era for three years. Annie is grateful to her parents Tommy and Nancy Yee, who encouraged her to learn all types of dance and were avid readers of Chinese Classics. Love to husband Stan Egi.

Bianca Lemaire

Ensemble
A Detroit native, Bianca began acting at the age of 12 with the Mosaic Theatre. Bianca has trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and performed at the Kennedy Center and the World Festival of Theatre in Denmark. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, she studied at Carnegie Mellon University and USC. Los Angeles Theatre Credits: Winfield in SWARM CELL, Bulrusher in BULRUSHER, Maggie in ANATOMY OF GAZELLAS, and Razi in CIRCUS UGLY. Film/TV Credits: “Kingdom,” “Filth to Ashes,” “We Four Queens,” and “Embers.” Bianca is a host volunteer for the community service organization, THE DO GOOD BUS and a songwriter for the existential rock and soul band KULA.

Bianca Lemaire

Bruce A Lemon, Jr.

Ensemble
An actor, director, writer, and educator born and raised in Watts, CA. After attending Hampton University for biology, computer science, and finally acting, he followed a girl to New York to intern as a Stage Manager and Production Assistant at The Juilliard School. Attended graduate school at The New School for Drama earning his MFA in Acting. Since then he’s worked with numerous companies on the east coast including the Award-winning Flea Theater as a member of The Bats and touring with the McCarter Theater Education Department before coming home and diving into LA theatre with the LA Opera, Son of Semele, Company of Angels, Mutineer, Illyrian Players, The Vagrancy, and more. He made his artistic home at Watts Village Theater Company (WVTC) both as an actor, Board Member, and Artistic Director. With WVTC he’s appeared in RIOT/REBELLION and FOLLOW for which he won the 2014 BroadwayWorld LA award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. He is a Princess Grace Award winner and an associate artist at Cornerstone Theater Company, Inner City Arts, and an Illyrian Player. Here to chase dreams and work for the reimagining of his community.

Bruce Lemon, Jr

Joe Luis Cedillo

Joe is a left-handed Chicano writer-director-dramaturg and actor. Attended Cal State Northridge and University of Iowa’s Playwrights’ Workshop. His plays ON PAINTED SKIN and COLUMPIO Kennedy Center ACTF National Latino Playwriting Award runner Ups. Playwright-Director credits: 69 PORTRAITS OF CHE, TEXTBOOKS & FENCES and 7, 8IGHT, 9. His site-specific plays include ASCENSION (Watt’s Village Theatre Company Meet Me@Metro), THE PARTY (Chalk Rep at The La Brea Tar Pits), CRUISING CON LA VIRGEN (Moving Arts Car Plays for Radar LA) and directing El Teatro Campesino’s Christmas folk operas LA PASTORELA and LA VIRGEN DEL TEPEYAC performed in Mission San Juan Bautista’s church. Member: MET Theater Company, Urban Ensemble Theatre Collective, Company of Strangers, The Unit Collective@The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Served as Production Dramaturg/Literary Manager for Houston’s Alley Theatre, Associate Artistic Director for El Teatro Campesino, and currently Associate Artistic Director for Texas State’s Black and Latino Playwrights Conference. Film credits: screenwriter for MAURYA’S KICK, WRNG IN STUDIO CITY, and his short HERMANA. Commissions: Highways 4×4 Emerging Latino Artists, The LA History Project (Edge of the World Theatre Festival), The MET Museum with Houston’s MFAH, and Minneapolis’s zAmya Theatre Project. Recognitions: Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist, FAIR Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Master, Core Member Apprentice for Playwrights Center, Alliance Theatre Kendeda Finalist and Latino Theater Commons Fellow. Mr. Cedillo is developing an LA crime drama pilot SWEET PALMS and a new musical about the 1934 General Strike on San Francisco’s Waterfront.

Joe Luis Cedillo

Juanita Chase de Lamont

Ensemble
Juanita Chase de Lamont is an international actress/writer/producer. She has an inherent need to create and collaborate, which is why she returns to the stage time and time again. She’s been waiting for the golden opportunity to work with the “famous” Henry Ong and the epic time has finally arrived! Recent credits include: Playing House (USA), Every 28 Hours (Watts Village Theatre, Cal State), The Snapple Hippie (YouTube). Juanita also teaches life-applicable improv workshops nationally and internationally to people of all backgrounds and professions. She fills her artivist heart by working with More Than NO, an anti-rape campaign aimed at championing consent-culture through artistic activism and by teaching theatre to children in domestic abuse shelters. She’d like to thank this incredible cast, many of whom are her family. This production is dedicated to Juanita’s #1 dream chaser, Joshua Lamont and to their biggest dream of all, the one that they’re currently creating!

Kila Kitu

Ensemble
A SAG-AFTRA; Actor’s Equity Association actor, author and producer, Kila is dedicated to bringing to life stories reflecting our global spectrum. Recent projects include the first and second Los Angeles engagements of The Every 28 Hours Plays (for which she received commendations from the Office of Assemblyman Mike Gipson), as well as the last two iterations of the NAACP-nominated Black Women State of the Union. Directing credits include: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Playing Juliet/Casting Othello, As You Like It, Pericles, Measure for Measure, and The Colored Museum. Acting credits include: E.R. (NBC), Frasier (NBC), The Shield (F/x), Tree (EST-LA), Black Women: State of the Union (BWSOTU), Playing Juliet/Casting Othello (Folger Shakespeare), Merchant of Venice (Washington Shakespeare Company). KilaKitu.org Kila Kitu Director, Producer

Kori Denise Barrios

Ensemble
Blossoming from the love, dedication, and motivation of her family, as well as the outstanding training of her acting teacher and mentor Fredrick Ponzlov, Kori Denise Barrios is over the moon to be a part of this amazing production.

A graduate of St. Olaf College in Minnesota (yup, St. Olaf as heard of on ‘The Golden Girls’) K.D.B. has acted in numerous plays and speaking competitions for over 25 years, including winning Long Beach’s Greatest Storyteller competition Spring 2013, and she has been blessed to be a part of the incredible Watts Village Theater family since 2013. Her passion for the arts spreads several genres. She is an active member of her Church choir and studies voice-over with the electric Anne Ganguzza. Watching Looney Toons and the Simpsons with her daddy while playing ‘Who did that voice’ developed her passion for voice-over acting at a young age. And witnessing the hard work and joy her mommy put into being a teacher instilled Kori’s desire to educate children.

The television show “The Golden Girls” has had a major impact on her life and is a source for many of her comedic character references. The show ignited Kori’s biggest desire which is to meet and act with her favorite actress, Betty White!

Kristopher Dowling

Ensemble
Kristopher Dowling is a recent graduate from CSUN, and is very excited to work with such talented individuals! With a classical background and a willingness to grow, Kristopher is grateful for the opportunity to learn.

Krystal Torres

Ensemble
Krystal Torres is a smart, confident actress who also exudes charm and likability. A key trait people boast most of Krystal is her infectious, upbeat energy. She’s known to bring a certain warmth, an uncanny depth of vulnerability and a quiet strength to each of her characters. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and studied at the prestigious William Esper Studio in NYC. She is very humbled to be a part of such a talented cast and crew and an epic play led by the marvelously talented Henry Ong.

Lee Chen-Norman

Ensemble
Lee Chen, who is from China, performed with Chairman Mao’s propaganda performing troupe throughout her childhood. Since arriving in the U.S., she has appeared in over 50 theatre and dance productions such as “The Joy Luck Club,” “M” Butterfly,” “The Waiting Room,” “One Servant to Two Masters,” “Angry Women,” Beijing Opera, Japanese Butoh and Balinese Kecak in Chicago, Honolulu and Los Angeles. She also toured her original one woman show, “Life Flies,” about her growing up in communist China and becoming an actress in the U.S. She left show business to raise her sons for ten years, then came back in 2011. Her film and TV credits include “Veep,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,”“Girl Meets World,” “Southland,” “Love Arcadia,” and “Midlife.” She has portrayed Chinese mothers in about 30 productions in the last 5 years. She won the Best Supporting Actress for the Short film “Dancing for You” in California Women’s Film Festival last July. “Dead Bird Don’t Fly” took her to the 68th Cannes International Film Festival Short Film Corner last May. She thanks her family, especially her husband and two sons, for their support.
Lee on IMDB
Lee Chen Official Site
YouTube

Longo Chu

Longo Chu performs on the violin and cello and produces musical arrangements and compositions in a variety of styles. He played in student music groups as he was growing up and then served in music, directing in the Military Police Band in Taiwan before moving to Los Angeles in 1997. He is currently affiliated with Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, a Celtic music group “Speyside”, and a rock band “Sean Hughes and Space Kings.” His previous experience composing and performing for the theater started with “Creative Instructions from My Crummy Life” by Margaret Kemp and has involved several projects, including works by the playwright Henry Ong.

Lydia Look

Ensemble
Lydia Look is a multiple award -winning actress and writer and is the voice behind Kevin Kwan’s CRAZY RICH ASIANS audiobook sequels, CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND and RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS. Her favorite roles include creating Disney channel’s beloved movie of the week WENDY WU: HOMECOMING WARRIOR, playing Ning in 7 LETTERS, which was Singapore’s 88th Academy Award Foreign Film entry in 2015 and as Agatha Mao in Checkpoint Theatre’s THE WAY WE GO for which she was nominated for Best Actress in 2016’s M1Theatre Life Awards. More of her can be found at: http://www.imdb.me/lydialook.

Robert Paterno

Ensemble
Robert Paterno is a Teaching Artist/Actor originally from Houston, Texas. TRAINING: BS Marine Biology (Texas A&M University), MFA Acting (Southern Methodist University). CREDITS: LA – Celebration Theatre, Company of Angels, Drive Theatre, Shakespeare Orange County, Sacred Fools Theatre, Speakeasy Society, Theatricum Botanicum, Hudson Theatre (LA Weekly Best Ensemble & Revival – Last Days of Judas Iscariot). REGIONAL – Stagewest, Great River Shakespeare. TV/FILM: Vampire Diaries (recurring), Days of Our Lives. He works as a Teaching Artist with The Unusual Suspects, Pasadena Playhouse, and Theatricum Botanicum; and as a Forensic Science teacher with Johns Hopkins’ Center For Talented Youth. Thank you for joining us and supporting arts in our communities!

Zoe Kim

Ensemble
ZOË KIM is an Actor/Filmmaker and a South Korean native. She studied Theatre at University of Washington and her Los Angeles theatre credits include Amanda in “4000 MILES” and Kim in “FOLLOW.” She is passionate about creating original content that challenge stereotypes and tell the Asian American story truthfully, and was humbled to receive the Emerging Filmmaker award at the DisOrient Asian American film festival in 2016. She is excited to be part of this wonderfully diverse cast and crew of Dream of the Red Chamber. She can be found at: WWW.ZOE-KIM.COM

Watch the Promo Video