In The Laramie Project, interviews with the people of Laramie were taken and melded into a string of monologues that were performed by actors. Director Ping Chong ups the ante with his own documentary theatre piece, Secret History, which closes at New York's Ohio Theatre Dec. 10. The production began performances Nov. 25.
Secret History tells the stories of cultural displacement of a century's worth of foreign-born New Yorkers. Like Laramie, the work is drawn from interviews. The difference lies in the performance as those who were interviewed (most not actors) deliver the lines themselves. Featured in the production are Tinket Monsod, Hiromi Sakamoto, Tania Salmen, Vaimoana Niumeitolu, Patrick Ssenjovu, and Cherry Lou Sy.
The play is part of Chong's "Undesirable Elements" series, a collection of on-going documentary works (currently 15 in all) that explore the effects of society on the lives of individuals. Chong, who was Canadian-born and raised in New York City's Chinatown, won the 2000 Obie Award for Sustained Achievement for his over 35 works since 1972.
To make your reservations to Secret History at the Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street, call (212) 529-1557 ext. 208.
— by Ernio Hernandez