World Factory is a Grass Stage production that has been performed all over China, elsewhere in Asia, and in North America. It focuses on China’s role as site of the “world factory,” whose first incarnation was in Manchester at the dawn of industrial capitalism. A recurring motif in the production is the hand: the hands of the assembly line, hands that get injured in industrial accidents, hands that link workers together. The excerpt translated here prominently features the hand motif.
Excerpt from World Factory
Zhao Chuan has published essays, short stories, novels, and art criticism, and was active in the experimental art scene in the 1980s. His 2014 Jijin yishu xiaoshi (A Brief History of Radical Art) is the most important work on that scene. He founded the Grass Stage Theater in Shanghai in 2005 and has been the group’s director and principal playwright. Grass Stage has been recognized as one of China’s most important theater groups. Major productions have ranged from 38th Parallel Still Play (2005) to World Factory (2014–16, various versions). Grass Stage’s most recent play, Song Mountain (Gele shan), was performed at the 2018 Wuzhen International Theater Festival.
Lennet Daigle is a translator and PhD student in literature at UC Santa Cruz. His previous graduate work was at Shanghai International Studies University, where he wrote a thesis on the translation of poststructuralist theory. His forthcoming dissertation, “Ethical Exemplarity and Historical Hermeneutics in the Early PRC,” is a study of Chinese historical fiction and its connection to the intellectual origins of the Cultural Revolution. He lives in Munich with his partner and son.
Zhao Chuan, Lennet Daigle; Excerpt from World Factory. boundary 2 1 May 2019; 46 (2): 235–239. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7497196
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