Five-time Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel will direct Moore's autobiographical one-man play featuring Jeff LeBeau. Burning in China will also integrate film footage of urban China that Deschanel himself shot in 1988.
Performances will play New York Theatre Workshop's 4th Street Theatre. Here's how the work is billed: "When Gary Moore went to Shanghai in 1988 to teach at a Chinese university, he took with him one hundred parchment copies of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, not knowing he would find among the grim silent Chinese students such a yearning for personal freedom and a government 'of the people, by the people, for the people' and that before long, they would abandon the classroom and risk their lives for democracy. Burning in China is the true story of an American witness to the Chinese democracy movement that ended with the killings in Tiananmen Square; at the heart of the story is the enactment of the bilingual rap opera The Great Emancipator Meets the Monkey King, which Moore wrote, directed and performed with the students. This dramatic encounter between freedom and fear was China's first live performance of rap music, presented to a cheering audience of 1,700 on New Year's Eve, 1988, just a few months before the Tiananmen demonstrations began (when circumstances forced Moore to leave China)."
Playwright Moore is the author of four full-length plays, including the verse drama Beaver Falls and two Lincoln-themed works — Long Lankin's Curse and The Tongue of Their Gladness. He has performed and lectured in the U.S., Canada, Turkey and the People's Republic of China. He is academic dean at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in Montpelier, VT.
New York Theatre Workshop's 4th Street Theatre is at 83 East 4th Street between Second Avenue and Bowery.