In acknowledgement of the long-awaited day when Hong Kong reverts from British to Chinese rule, Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum honors one of China's most famous human rights activists, political prisoner Wei Jingsheng, in a July 1, one-night only presentation, The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters From Political Prisoner Wei Jingsheng.
Conceived and directed by Taper's Asian Theatre Workshop Director, Chay Yew, Courage features dramatic presentations of selections from Wei Jingsheng's writings, including bold letters to Chinese Communist leaders expressing his opinions on necessary economic and political reform.
The hour of selected writings will be read by Sab Shimono and Sandra Oh.
Former Red Guard Wei Jingsheng has received the Olof Palme Award and the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Currently enduring a 14 year jail sentence, begun in 1994 after already being imprisoned from 1979-1993, Jingsheng recently published a collection of letters from solitary confinement, The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters From Prison and Other Writings, translated and edited by Kristine Torgeson. Excerpts from the book are used for the Taper event by arrangement with publisher Viking, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.
The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion, that includes Fang Lizhi, an activist heavily involved in Tiananman Square who escaped China and is currently a professor of Astro-physics at Tucson University. Taper spokesperson Nancy Hereford said, "He [Lizhi] really has an inside view of this." Lizhi will be joined by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi from Northern CA, who is heavily involved in Chinese issues, and two others, in a discussion moderated by L.A. Times Senior Consulting Editor Alvin Shuster.
Admission to Courage is free, but a donation of $20 is suggested, which will benefit Human Rights in China, an international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy within China and education among Chinese people inside and outside the country.
Reservations can be made by calling (213) 972-7389. For information about what's upcoming at the Mark Taper Forum please refer to the regional listing on Playbill On-Line.
--By Blair Glaser