IRT shares highly anticipated return of The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin
Hauntingly theatrical tale shares story of immigration, identity, and illumination
Indianapolis, Ind.—After being forced to close during rehearsal due to the pandemic, Jessica Huang’s The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin will make its Indiana premiere at the Indiana Repertory Theatre this month. Based on a true story, this intricate and illuminating look at immigration and a family caught between two cultures makes its Indiana premiere April 20 – May 15, 2022 on the IRT Upperstage and will be available for streaming May 2 – 15. In an exciting and rare occurrence, the entire original cast, director, and many members of the design team has returned to continue their work on this production, which is part of this season’s INclusion Series celebrating diverse storytelling.
After forging a new identity to move to the United States in order to send money home to his starving village in China, Harry Chin finds himself trapped between two families and two worlds. The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin travels between past and present, reality and dreams, as it explores the consequences of making a group of people illegal and the importance of identity, family, and culture.
“Intent on uncovering remarkable plays that tell little-known American stories, we found Jessica Huang’s haunting play, which details the life of an illegal immigrant during the Chinese Exclusion Act,” said IRT’s Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director Janet Allen. “Huang’s story delivers the heartbreak of separated families, long-kept secrets, the fear of discovery, the difficulty of language and culture barriers, and the desperate desire for a better life in America.”
The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin was originally commissioned by the History Theatre in Minnesota, and Jessica Huang uncovered the real Harry Chin’s heartbreaking and amazing immigration story while researching the Chinese Exclusion Act at the Minnesota Historical Society. Inspired by her discovery of this family’s history, Huang connected with Chin’s daughter Sheila Morris, who is represented in the play, and was able to access photos and first-hand accounts of the family’s experience to help develop the story, resulting in a magical and moving theatrical experience.
“Huang has vividly illuminated with great care a period of our American history often intentionally under examined,” said IRT’s Associate Artistic Director Benjamin Hanna. “It is a timely piece that asks us to think deeply about our current immigration policies and how our ancestors gained access to the land we live on.”
While the story is rooted in a moment of US history, it focuses on the relationship between fathers and daughters, the living and ancestors, truth and secrets, culture and country. To engage in more conversations around these topics with the community, the IRT will host and share post-show discussions and community conversations throughout the run.
Tickets are available now for this surreal journey through past and present!
WHERE: Indiana Repertory Theatre, 140 W. Washington Street, IRT Upperstage
RUN DATES: April 20 – May 15, various times. Streaming May 2 – 15. The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Tickets and performance schedule available at IRTlive.com.
TICKETS: In-Person tickets start at $25. Virtual tickets are $30. Click to buy.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM:
ANNE BATES | Laura
ALLISON BUCK | Sheila
SAM ENCARNACION | Boss & Interrogator
STEPHENIE SOOHYUN PARK | Yuet & Susan
DAVID SHIH | Harry
LINDEN TAILOR | Poet & Immigration Officer
JESSICA HUANG | Playwright
JAKI BRADLEY | Director
WILSON CHIN | Scenic Designer
YAO CHEN | Costume Designer
CHA SEE | Lighting Designer
BROKEN CHORD | Sound Design & Composition
REUBEN LUCAS | Projections Designer
RICHARD J ROBERTS | Dramaturg
ERIN ROBSON-SMITH | Stage Manager
For more information contact Kerry Barmann, Marketing Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.916.4824.
ABOUT THE IRT
Founded in 1971, the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) is the largest professional not-for-profit theatre in the state and one of the leading regional theatres in the country. The mission of the Indiana Repertory Theatre is to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that will engage, surprise, challenge, and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, helping us build a vital and vibrant community.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA): The IRT strives to celebrate and serve the diverse people and cultures that make up our whole community. The IRT is committed to providing access for all; to creating and maintaining an antiracist theatre that is inclusive, safe, and respectful.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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