A stage adaptation of "A Dream of Red Pavilions," the epic 18th-century Chinese novel about the rise and fall of an aristocratic family as reflected in a romance between two cousins, opens its world premiere Jan. 28 at Off-Broadway's Pan Asian Repertory Theatre.
Jeremy Tiang has written the script, based on the classic novel by Cao Xueqin, which is directed by Tisa Chang and Lu Yu. The production began previews Jan. 23 and is scheduled to run through Feb. 14 at the Clurman Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Vichet Chum and Kelsey Wang star as Baoyu (Precious Jade) and Daiyu (Dark Jade), two beings from the heavenly kingdom—a stone and a flower—who are reborn on earth as cousins and fall in love. Also featured in the cast: Leanne Cabrera as their cousin Baochai and Shigeko Sara Suga as Matriarch.
E.J. An, Amanda Centeno, Allison Hiroto, Fenton Li, Audrey Wang and Mandarin Wu play members of the noble Jia family and their household heading for social disgrace and financial disaster.
According to production notes, the play is set in 18th-century China during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. "The story centers on the cousins’ ill-fated romance, and explores a crumbling society as the Chinese aristocracy finds itself increasingly unable to maintain the façade of noble infallibility."
The story has also been translated as "Dream of Red Mansions" and "Dream of the Red Chamber."
The production has sets by Sheryl Liu, lighting by Victor En Yu Tan, costumes by Hyun Sook Kim, sound design by Ian Wherle, projections by Douglas Macur and original music by Grammy Award nominee Angel Lam. Stage managers are Elis C. Arroyo and Miriam Hyfler.