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No-Doze Theater

In Beijing, these plays are a political nightmare. In Lakewood, they're simply dreamy.


China's political leaders have come to know novelist Gao Xingjian's theatrical works all too well. You would too, if you spent all your time banning them for their blatant political overtones critical of your government. But in the U.S., the author remains a relative unknown as a playwright, as Cleveland Public Theatre stages Two Plays by Gao Xingjian. "Most of Gao's plays are more abstract and follow the logic of dream more than the logic of everyday life," says Raymond Bobgan, the show's director. "Gao's work is very expressionistic. He's like the Salvador Dali of theater."The production's two offerings, Between Life and Death and The Other Shore, rely on dreamy happenstance to convey their messages. For instance, the latter requires the large cast to act out a series of bizarre events, like crossing a river (only) to find a scary place where they forget how to talk. "When you see the whole piece, it makes sense," says Bobgan. "You can tell where the journey goes and what it means." The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through Saturday, June 14, at the Gordon Square Theatre, 6415 Detroit Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $18. Call 216-631-2727 or visit
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: May 24. Continues through June 14, 2008

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