The Story of Madam Mao on Stage in Toronto

The smash hit production of SummerWorks 2014 is making a comeback to Toronto. The captivating and historically significant, Madam Mao, which experienced sold out houses during its SummerWorks production, is back this time even more captivating and raw than before. Running June 2 – 19 at The Tarragon Extraspace, the play examines the story of a major political figure during China’s Cultural Revolution, Jiang Qing, wife of Chairman Mao.

The story takes place in a Bejing jail cell, a young Official is drawn into the telling of Madam Mao’s story. The widow of Chairman Mao, who was once the most powerful and feared woman in the world, now a political prisoner, relives her life, replete with idealism and contradictions. Born into poverty, Madam Mao rose to power and then used propaganda art as the means of controlling a nation. With her sights set on becoming the next ruler of China, her quest for power led her to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of her real and perceived enemies. Was she driven by revenge and ambition? Or has she been vilified by historical perspectives? Incorporating Revolutionary music and choreography, Madam Mao tells the story of this powerful, controversial and most feared woman in the world who China is eager to forget and who the Western world never really knew.

Produced by Azure River, 2013/14 Resident Artists of fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, the one-act play based in a Beijing jail cell is collectively created by Paul Thompson, Janet Lo, Samantha Wan and Severn Thompson.

“Being the wife of Chairman Mao, Jiang Qing was so focused on her quest for power that she destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, yet so few people in the world know about her and the significance of her story,” said Janet Lo who co-created and plays Jiang Qing in Madam Mao. “I’m fascinated by her story and believe it’s an important one to tell. We’ve expanded our show to a full-scale production and I’m excited to share our latest and newest production in Toronto.”

Co-creator Paul Thompson is one of the most remarkable and accomplished voices in Canadian theatre and in 2011 was awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Alongside Janet Lo (Madam Mao), Samantha Wan (Sergeant/Trickster), Heidi Chan (live musician) and Severn Thompson (Director), the play Madam Mao is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people Jiang Qing persecuted while in power during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Opens Saturday, June 4
  • Tuesday to Saturday @ 8PM
  • (No show Tuesday, June 14)
  • Saturday matinee @ 2:30pm
  • Sunday PWYC @ 2:30pm

Tarragon box office: 416-531-1827

Location: The Tarragon Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Ave. Toronto

Approx. running time: 75 Minutes

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