Featured Contributors, May/June 2017

A critic from Beijing penned a Chinese theatre overview, and an academic from Washington, D.C., traced a high-stakes literary adaptation.

Bilingual writer and critic Raymond Zhou, dubbed “Beijing’s answer to Roger Ebert” by the Los Angeles Times, writes this issue’s survey of the state of Chinese theatre. Despite the association with the famed movie critic, Zhou says he loves theatre more than film. “Several times I was commissioned to produce a screenplay but somehow ended up with a stage piece,” he explains. “I love to experiment with the interplay of these two performing arts. I’m also fascinated by the East-West cultural divide, adapting Hamlet and The Importance of Being Earnest with distinctly Chinese resonance.”

Soyica Colbert, who pens this issue’s feature on Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Jazz at Center Stage in Baltimore, is an associate professor at Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University who specializes in black theatre, performance, and culture. Colbert says Morrison has always been one of her favorite authors—Colbert even wrote her undergraduate thesis about Jazz. Returning to the novel and interviewing Kelley, she says, “reminded me how compassion emerges from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, which is sorely needed in our fractured world.”

 

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