Lai Shengchuan


Lai Shengchuan
(a.k.a.Stan Lai)
b. 1954, Washington, DC
Theatre and film director, playwright
Lai grew up in the USA and in Taiwan. After earning a PhD in Theatre Arts from the University of California at Berkeley in 1983, he returned to Taiwan, where he established in 1984 the Performance Workshop Theatre (Biaoyan guangzuofang) troupe and has held various academic positions. Together with talented actors such as Ding Naizheng, Jin Shijie and Li Liqun, Lai produced Anlian/Taohuayuan (1986, English title: Peach Blossom Land), in which two theatre troupes vie for the same stage: the juxtaposed rehearsals of a play about an aging mainlander and a dramatization of the fifth-century tale about a lost Utopia provide poignant commentary on contemporary Taiwan. The prize-winning play has been restaged twice and made into a film (1992). Lai continued to collaborate with Christopher Doyle as Director of Cinematography in his second film, Red Lotus Society (Feixia Ada, 1994), a ‘a fairy-tale film of the modern city’.
Meanwhile, Lai has written and produced a large number of successful original and adapted plays. Especially popular were three xiangsheng (cross-talk) shows, which use the comic dialogue form typical of northern China to convey social and political criticism pertinent to Taiwan of the 1990s. More recently, I Me He Him (Wo he wo he ta he ta, 1998) continued to explore the fraught relation between Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. Since 1998, Lai has also directed in the PRC and has established a branch of the Performance Workshop in Beijing.
Kowallis, Jon (1997). ‘The Diaspora in Post-modern Taiwan and Hong Kong Film: Framing Stan Lai’s The Peach Blossom Land and Allen Fong’s Ah Ying’. In Sheldon Lu (ed.), Transnational Chinese Cinema: Identity, Nationhood, Gender. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Lai, Stan (1994). ‘Specifying the Universal’. TDR: The Drama Review: A Journal of Performance Studies 38.2:33–7.
YOMI BRAESTER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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