The Shifting

 

During my Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency Program 2013-2014, I dived into experimenting with projection, lighting and audio in relation to a solo theatrical piece I was working on at the time called “Moving Space”. I was happy to have Francis Phan join and assist me with technical and video support. We shot the footage in a couple days with our Sony Nex7 and had access to multiple projectors and lighting at the studio.

Two years later, we produced the music and the video together. Special thanks to ‪ClimbingPoeTree‬, for their inspirational words!  We are grateful for the support from Paul Dresher and the Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency Program. We created this with zero budget. This is a first step to many other projects – particularly, we are looking forward to working with our dear friend Juliette Deschamps Makeïeff for a performance piece. 

We encourage you to observe the light and as well as the shadow as you step into this “moving space” through “The Shifting”.

I spent 1 month exploring projection, lighting and audio at Paul Dresher’s studio and here are some  images my partner captured of me dancing with layers and layers of my own projections in the light and shadow.

Harmony of Nature – Legend of Bunun and Cello

I'm proud to have the opportunity to be stage director and narrator fo or Harmony of Nature – Legend of Bunun and Cello, featuring the Bunun Mountain Traditional Music Chorus and Cellist Annie Chang.  Alice Changfounder of Main Art, produced this amazing concert “Harmony of Nature”.

We were invited to perform in Voices – A Festival of Song in Esplanade Singapore in December 6-7, 2014.  The concert featured Bunun Mountain Traditional Music Chorus and Cellist Annie Chang

We went onto the mountains in Wulu Village to work with the Bunun Tribe in Taiwan – we learned about Bunun in Wulu’s history,  traditional, culture and their lifestyle.  I am  honor to get to know them and spoke of their stories and tradition not only as a director but also as a narrator for the concert.  Song background/lyrics with beautiful photos were projected throughout the concert.  I also included extensive program notes both in English and Chinese for the audience to bring home.

Here are photos captured in mountains of Taiwan – with Bunun Tribe in Wulu Village:

 

 

The audience in Singapore loves it!  We had 3 successful concerts.  I also conducted a workshop introducing the history and culture of Bunun in relation to music.  A great number of male audiences experienced singing UNESCO recognized Pasibutbut with our Bunun Mountain Traditional Music Chorus.

Our beautiful Cellist (famous for cross-genres cello performance in Taiwan) learned  the Bunun traditional folk songs by heart, wrote them down on music sheet and arranged cello music blending them seamlessly.  Annie also composed a few solo pieces honoring Bunun in Wulu village.  They are The Journey- WuluMiscanthis in the Wind and The Wulu Legend.  Cellist Annie Chang even joined Bunun in singing!

Special thanks for all those who helped making this concert, especially to my amazing Mother – Alice Chang – who made this whole project possible.

For more information, please visit www.mainartculture.com

Here are some photos captured in Esplanade Singapore during rehearsals:

Please note the last image is the cover of a cake box. Given to us from an audience member.  She came to see the concert and loved it so, brought her whole family back to see it the next day along with a cake she made, with this note on top for us.  She wrote

“Thank you for the performance.  I have not experienced a concert that has moved me so.  From the first sound to the last second of the concert, my tears couldn’t stop running down.  Thank you, this is not a performance, this is calling from the heart –

Someone who Loves Taiwan …”

2014 Drama Therapy Conference

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I am so excited about the upcoming 2014 Drama Therapy Conference.  The topic is – In Harmony with the Elements: Drama Therapy and Wellness – I am honor to work with Armand Volkas and Roni Alperin on Waking Dream Theatre full day workshop. Please come and join us!  2014 Drama Therapy Conference

Waking Dream Theatre: Exploring a Collective Dream World Through Drama
Armand Volkas, MFA, RDT/BCT, MFT
Naya Chang, MFA

Roni Alperin, MA

In Waking Dream Theatre, you will refine improvisational forms and co-create collective dream worlds where personal story, current life challenges, music and creative expression intermingle. At once, meaningful practice and performance art, waking dreams spark deep insight while remaining poetic and playful. Balance, generosity, mindfulness and collaboration are its values.

Waking Dream Theatre – Exploring a Collective Dream World Through Drama

I will be collaborating with Armand Volkas on a summer workshop exploring collective dream world again!  This time, we have Roni Alperin joining our team!  Together, we will be co-presenting at the pre-conference full day workshop at the 2014 Drama Therapy Conference at Yosemite. Please come and join us at our exploration at the Living Arts Center this summer or at Yosemite this fall!

A 7-Week Workshop on Tuesdays 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. from July 8 to August 19, 2014. Including a Sunday Intensive on August 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Culminating in a Performance on Tuesday August 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Conducted by Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT In Collaboration With Naya Chang, MFA & Roni Alperin, MA, MFT Intern

WAKING DREAM THEATRE

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In Waking Dream Theatre, you will learn and refine a series of acting forms. These techniques will allow you to interact with dream images that emerge from your unconscious through theatre improvisation. You will be invited to take creative risks with the encouragement of a supportive group and facilitators.

During the weekly sessions and all-day workshop, the group will co-create a collective dream world where personal story, current life challenges and creative expression intermingle. Waking Dream Theatre is at once a meaningful practice and a performance art. This workshop will allow you to discover, reveal yourself and be witnessed. Waking Dream Theatre can spark deep insight while remaining poetic and playful. The series will culminate in a performance in front of an invited audience integrating the forms that have been taught with music, movement and creative ritual. No previous theatre or improvisation experience necessary. Shy people are welcome!

For more information and registration:

armandvolkas@livingartscenter.org

 The Living Arts Counseling Center 

1265 65th Street, Emeryville, CA

(510) 595-5500, Ext 11

American Conservatory Theater: Stuck Elevator

I am so proud to be working on this production as the assistant director.
This is a story that must be told – a story of an invisible immigrant who works so hard for the love of his family.

World Premiere Musical – Stuck Elevator

Music by Byron Au Yong
Libretto by Aaron Jafferis
Directed by Chay Yew

A visionary new work based on the true story of a Chinese deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention—with dire consequences for this undocumented immigrant. Inventively staged by internationally acclaimed artist Chay Yew—and introducing the prodigious work of a brilliant young composing team—Stuck Elevator unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas.

The show premiered on April 16, 2013

Stuck Elevator links:
http://stuckelevator.wordpress.com
http://www.aaronjafferis.com/shows/stuck-elevator/

American Conservatory Theater: Sophocles’ Elektra

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ACT’s production of Sophocles’ Elektra opened on Oct. 31, 2012
Translated and adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by ACT’s artistic director Carey Perloff
Original music by David Lang

I feel very blessed to be a member of this vibrant team creating this epic Greek tragedy as the assistant to the Pulitzer Prize–winning composer – David Lang!

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This powerful play features the fierce René Augesen who plays Elektra and Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis who plays the Chorus Leader.  Beautiful and witty Caroline Lagerfelt plays ClytemnestraAnthony Fusco is the tutor who fools everyone with his excellent storytelling ability, Steven Anthony Jones (Artistic Director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre) plays Aegisthus, and three very talented ACT MFA third-year actors – Allegra Rose Edwards who plays Chrysothemis, Nick Steen who plays Orestes and Titus Tompkins who plays Pylades.  This production includes one live musician –  cellist Theresa Wong – who bows, plucks and vocalizes throughout the play creating atmosphere while being a second chorus member representing the public.

2012 Taiwan International Festival of the Arts

I have the honor to work with an incredible team of musicians and artists for the 2012 Taiwan International Festival of the Arts.

I designed a simple stage trying to capture the essence nature and mountains and choreographed the blocking and movement for the concert – “Wu Man and Aboriginal Friends” – which was premiered on the Main stage of the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan on March 24, 2012.  Wu Man who plays the pipa (Chinese Traditional instrument) collaborates with 32 Taiwanese Aborigines – Soprano Mewas Lin from Atayal tribe, Wulu Bunun Singers from the Bunun Tribe, and Sauniaw, Camake and the Taiwu Elementary School Folk Singers from the Paiwan Tribe.  Together, they took the audience onto a beautiful musical journey that transforms the evening into a timeless celebration of Taiwanese Aborigines’ heritages, rituals, daily living in the mountain.

This performance is apart of 2012 Taiwan International Festival of the Arts performances, produced by Alice Chang and her assistant Melinda Juang.

NSO Opera La Peintre, Yu-Lin

I was the Assistant Director for the newly developed opera produced by the National Symphony Orchestra, called “La Peintre, Yu-Lin”.

“Pan Yu-Liang (1985-1977) was a legendary Chinese painter. At a young age, she was sold to a brothel and then became a wealthy official’s concubine. Her paintings of nude models violated cultural norms in the feudal society and generated much controversy in Shanghai in the early Republic years. She was forced to move to Paris to pursue her passion and successfully established herself as a “warrior of beauty.” – taken from the NSO website

Conductor: Yip Wing-Sie
Stage director: Juliette Deschamps
Composer: Nan-Chang Chien
Playwright: An-Chi Wang
Author: Shin Nan

July 08, 2010 – 19:30 National Theater, Taipei (World Premier)
July 09, 2010 – 19:30 National Theater, Taipei
July 10, 2010 – 19:30 National Theater, Taipei
July 11, 2010 –  14:30 National Theater, Taipei

Please visit the website of our amazing costume designer Sophia Hong and set designer Nelson Wilmotte.

The Orphan of Zhao

Director’s Note
by Naya Chang

I have always wanted to use theatre as a means to build a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures.Creating an onstage production can give audiences exposure to cultures that may not be familiar.Theatre has that power!I am very proud to bring a part of my culture onto the stage here at Brandeis University.

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In The Orphan of Zhao, individuals struggle for justice in the face of oppression and the misuse of power.  This theme recurs throughout history.Recall the lone college student who stopped a battalion of tanks in their tracks by simply standing in front of them during the 1989 massacre of Tiananmen Square.  Each character that tries to save the Orphan embodies the spirit of that student.

I hope that this play forces us to reflect on the importance of human rights and what each of us deems worth fighting for.   I decided to depict the violence on stage in a realistic and graphic way.  Beauty coexists with violence and pain—a reality that I feel is important to confront.

I decided to make Cheng Ying, traditionally a male character, a woman in this production because I wanted to explore the strengths of motherhood.Cheng Ying’s sacrifice and burden is extraordinary.The Orphan of Zhao carries on Cheng Ying’s journey, fulfills his family’s legacy and moves on to become a great leader.

It is a humbling and wonderful experience to have a playwright and designers take my vision and create their own interpretations of it.I love that process and I think that’s what makes it theatre.My goal of building a bridge between eastern and western cultures certainly were embodied in this process with a truly talented, multi-cultural team.

Links for review and more information about the production:

Brandies Theater Company

The Brandeis Hoot

Naya Chang as Forgiveness From Heaven in The Waiting Room

Forgiveness From Heaven is a wealthy eighteenth century Chinese woman with bound feet.  She enjoys her husband’s attention as Blessing From Heaven takes much pride in Forgiveness From Heaven’s small feet (golden lotus feet).

Later, her husband Blessing From Heaven dismisses her because her toes falls off due to gangrene which was caused by the practice of foot-binding.  Forgiveness From Heaven stays at the hospital by herself and starts to use different drugs and joints. She eventually dies in the hospital next to Wanda who has breast cancer. 

After Forgiveness From Heaven passed away in the hospital, her spirit unbound her feet.  Using the red silk, she started dancing the Chinese ribbon dance with great joy bringing the play to an end.

The play centered around three women – 18th-century Chinese first wife who’s toes are falling off from her bound feet therefore abandoned by her husband 19th-century neurotic English wife who loves reading and is forced to have her ovaries taken for “moral elevation”.  Present day aging New Jersey party girl who is a cosmetic surgery addict and is diagnosed with breast cancer

They meet in the waiting room as they wait to see a doctor and they are put into the same recovery room after their individual surgeries.

Hannah Wilson as Victoria
Naya Chang as Forgiveness From Heaven
Sara Oliva as Wanda
in Lisa Loomer’s The Waiting Room, directed by Janet Marrison at Brandeis Theater Company.

David Wilson was the music and sound design, you could get a glimpse of the show by listening to the music clips (with images) on his website at http://www.dw-design.com/DW_Design/The_Waiting_Room.html