The Arts

Nightwood Theatre – Marjorie Chan’s a nanking winter

Nightwood Theatre – Marjorie Chan’s a nanking winter featured image

by Paula Citron.
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a nanking winter
Written by Marjorie Chan
Directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones
Starring Grace Lynn Kung, Ella Chan, Leon Aureus, Brooke Johnson and Stephen Russell
At Factory Theatre Mainstage until Mar. 16.
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Marjorie Chan’s a nanking winter is powerful agitprop theatre. She was inspired by the genocide that occurred in Nanking during the 1937 Japanese invasion, and the heroic efforts by two westerners – an American nun and a German Nazi sympathizer – to save Chinese citizens. Her tragic heroine, Irene Woo, played magnificently by Grace Lynn Kung, is based on real life author Iris Chang who wrote about the 1937 atrocities.

The two acts inform each other. The first focuses on Irene and her battle to save the integrity of her book. The second part takes place in Nanking during the invasion.

This play holds no quarter, and director Ruth Madoc-Jones lets her actors go for the emotional jugular. Yes the play is very political, even polemical, but with Ruanda that was, and Kenya and Darfur that are, genocide is a fact of life.

The audience, clearly moved, gave the play a standing ovation.

a nanking winter continues at Factory Theatre Mainspace until Mar. 16.

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