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China Doll (Marjorie Chan)

China Doll (Marjorie Chan)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Marjorie Chan
Publisher: Scirocco Drama
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 2004
ISBN-10: 0920486835
ISBN-13: 9780920486832
Cast Size: 3 women, 1 man

About the Play:

Finalist for the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

China Doll is a full-length drama by Marjorie Chan. The story of Su-Ling, a rebellious young woman in Shanghai during the last years of Imperial China and the first years of the Republic, whose self-worth is determined only by her tiny, bound feet – until her world and view of it expands when she learns to read. China Doll powerfully reaffirms the theme of women's awakening and emancipation.

China Doll is about the plight of women in China in the early years of the 20th century. Su-Ling, an open-minded and intelligent young woman in Shanghai, has her feet bound by her grandmother, Poa-Poa. Despite the pain and the crippling effects, custom decrees that the smaller and daintier the foot, the more marriageable the woman. (The most desirable, "lotus feet," fit into "lotus shoes" only 3-4 inches long). Poa-Poa has high hopes that her granddaughter will marry well and bring prosperity to them both. Then Su-Ling meets the merchant Li, who enlarges her world by teaching her to read. Copies of A Doll's House are circulating secretly amongst women in tea-houses. Her life is changed when a local draper with an activist past hands her a self-published copy of the Ibsen play. As Su-Ling grows into womanhood, she makes choices that lead her toward independence, and which have consequences for everyone in her world.

China Doll premiered in 2004 at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award and several Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production. Its western Canadian premiere was in 2019 at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond, B.C. in English, with subtitles in Chinese characters.

Cast: 3 female, 1 male

What people say:

"Echoes of Cinderella and Ibsen … a rich and engaging narrative...." — NOW Magazine

About the Playwright:

Marjorie Chan is a Canadian writer and performer based in Toronto, working in stage, screen and radio. Her debut as a playwright was the acclaimed drama China Doll in which she played the role of the young protagonist, Su-Ling. She was born in Toronto to Hong Kong immigrants who arrived in the late 1960s. Her plays have been performed all over the world, including Hong Kong, where she has also directed. She has received nine Dora Award nominations, and won four. China Doll received a Governor General's Literary Award nomination.

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