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Dinh James Doan

The Emperor’s Nightingale

December 4, 2018

Although Chua is less interested in beauty for beauty's sake than Andersen, the look and sound of "The Emperor's Nightingale" is still stunning, drawing on a wealth of traditional Chinese art forms to both enliven and culturally ground the story. Leading the way are Joseph Wolfslau's period-inspired score and You-Shin Chen's eye-popping set, which pays lovely tribute to the art of Chinese paper cutting. Leslie Smith's lighting design nicely highlights all of the wonderful colors in Chen's set, as well as those found in Karen Boyer's lambent costumes, which do imaginative justice to human and animal alike. [more]

Incident at Hidden Temple

February 2, 2017

Behind the theme of war," Incident at Hidden Temple" is a thriller of sorts. Sisters Ava (Ying Ying Li) and Lucy (Briana Sakamoto), first seen in China travelling on a train littered with American soldiers, are separated when a disturbing road block forces their train to a halt. With some time to kill, the sisters exit the train and are introduced to a mysterious stranger--Dinh James Doan as a blind man with a penchant for speaking in riddles--who tells them about a Hidden Temple located just a short ways away. The temple, the blind man cryptically tells them, is filled with lost treasures but will only be revealed to those of pure heart. [more]

Divine Comedy

October 9, 2016

The problem with Peter Dobbins’ productions is not the quaint spiritual underpinnings of the plays but the fact that they are directed too leisurely and consequently do not generate any laughs, fatal for comedies. Several of the actors are innocuous where they should be more incisive. The rhythms of both plays seem much more formal and genteel than they need to be. The short, curtain raiser plays like an extended anecdote, while the longer, more famous play is a comedy of manners play that seems rather thin for its length. The stilted, old-fashioned translations from the French also do not help. [more]