I didn't really look at the listing, so I had no idea what it was other than Abigail Washburn. It was a play with a lot of music. It was stellar. I loved it. It was so well done. They just started rehearsing a few days before, and I couldn't really tell. It was also nice to see how Abigail came to an artist singing chinese and playing banjo. I loved that they had a guezheng and an asian percussionist.
I also liked learning about some of the cultural differences in China. The whole thing was wonderful.
We are excited to announce Abigail Washburn will debut her first theatrical work, Post-American Girl,
at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater March 28 – 30 as part of New York
Voices, the venue’s popular commission series designed to help musicians
make the leap from songwriting and performance to theatrical
production. Washburn’s new stage piece is about an American girl
coming-of-age in a swiftly changing global order. It features folk arts
of China and Appalachia in shadow puppetry, sacred harp song,
traditional music as well as new compositions.
Post-American Girl, written by and starring Washburn, draws
from her 17-year relationship with China and addresses themes of
expanding identity, cultural relativism, pilgrimage, today’s shifting
world order, the universal appeal of music and opening the heart big
enough to fold it all in. The piece explores how a contemporary young
American woman brings her conflicted feelings and simultaneous love of a
changing China together with similar conflicted feelings and love of
her own country’s culture. The production will include Chinese Theatre
Works’ Kuang Yu Fong (founder and Master Vocalist); Stephen Kaplin
(Puppeteer & Set Design); composer, violinist and violist Jeremy
Kittel; Chinese percussion master Tian Gang; cellist Tristan Clarridge
and Guzheng master Wang Jungling. Post-Amerian Girl will be directed by Meiyin Wang, Associate Artistic Producer of The Public’s Under The Radar.
“I started going back and forth between China and America in 1996 and
have hoped for a chance to dive headlong into a fuller expression of
this journey and the lessons learned,” said Washburn. “My artistry is
expanding inexplicably because of New York Voices. Joe’s Pub and The
Public have created an opportunity to expand my artistic vision by
freeing me up to think unabashedly about ways to merge my musical and
personal journey with theatrical performance.”
To view behind-the-scenes photos from the making of Post-American Girl, click here.