The Playgoer: Bad Enough in English?

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bad Enough in English?

We're now lucky enough in NYC to have "I Love You, You're Perfect" in not one, but two languages.

Billed as the first time in American theatre history that a foreign production of an American musical will play in the United States, the 23-performance run is a co-production of Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Broadway Asia Entertainment and will play six shows weekly in rep with the long-running American production on West 43rd Street.

The Chinese company will perform the show entirely in Mandarin, with English supertitles projected above the stage. Given New York City's large Chinese population, it's safe to say a new demographic will be heading to the Off-Broadway hit by composer Jimmy Roberts and playwright-lyricist Joe DiPietro.


Ok, I shouldn't make such fun of the "I Love You, You're Jewish, Let's Have a Big Fat Italian Wedding" shows without seeing them. But here are three quick responses to this headline.
  • I really hope the future of the theatre does not depend on this kind of show. But they sure are successful. (Low overhead and cheap actors must be a big part of it.)

  • On another note, I wonder if in our new age of multiculturalism and a polyglot New York, might we have a return to the old days of the early 20th century when foreign-language theatre (driven by imigrants) flourished. I hope so! A lot of great theatre came out of that. (Like the Yiddish Theatres.)... And I've also a fan of one of NY's last outposts of bi-linguilism, Repertorio Espanol, whose AD Rene Busch does some interesting productions. Plus, a great chance to hear Lorca, Calderon, and Lope de Vega in the original.

  • There's probably some Chinese trade-gap joke to make about all this, but it's Saturday and I'm tired.

2 comments:

Avi said...

dear playgoer, you are very funny and you make me laugh. keep doing it please! thanking you, avi

John Branch said...

A response to your 1st point (which maybe I shouldn't be taking so seriously): This is a commercial production, right? Theater was around a long time before the commercial model came along; if it's not around for a long time after, it won't be only because of shows like this. In fact, in the overall scheme of present-day theater around the world, the commercial model doesn't even count for much. If you're worried by shows like this, just imagine them naked.