Stuck Elevator tells the story of Guang, a Chinese food deliveryman struggling for freedom from debt, human smugglers, loud-mouthed coworkers, and the temptations of General Tso. Based on the true story of an undocumented immigrant who survived 81 hours in a Bronx elevator, this comic-rap-scrap-metal-music-theatre work follows Guang’s increasingly fantastic attempts to escape a 4′ by 6′ by 8′ metal box. As he climbs into memories, nightmares, and impossible futures, he is cooked into a morsel of Orange Beef and mugged by a bursting bladder. Taking charge, Guang transforms into Takeout Man, battles his prison guard, flies paper airplane menu letters to his family, and leads an army of bicycle deliverymen. Suspended between the upward mobility of the American dream and the downward plunge into an empty abyss, Stuck Elevator travels between refuge/prison, freedom/safety, and voice/silence for our superhero.
Listen to songs from Stuck Elevator in the player below or by clicking this link.
Stuck Elevator is a sung-through hybrid of musical theatre, opera, and solo performance born of the disparate theatrical worlds of its two authors. A scrap-metal percussionist, violinist, and cellist create a mongrel sound that reflects the shifting world in which Guang lives: part American, part Chinese, part Bronx, part shipping container, part heart, part elevator. Bowed bicycle wheels and other found metal objects evoke the ominous sounds of the elevator and apartment building. Guang sings lyrical melodies and screams metallic noise. Though one actor plays Guang throughout his solo ordeal, others drift in and out of the elevator, manifesting the characters populating Guang’s memories, dreams, and imaginings.
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas (2010) and Museum of Chinese in America (2009) have presented workshop readings of Stuck Elevator. Excerpts have been presented at the Northwest New Works Festival at On the Boards (2009), Hand2Mouth’s Risk/Reward Festival (2009) and Theatre Off Jackson (2007). Additionally, Au Yong and Jafferis have developed Stuck Elevator at the Yale Institute for Music Theatre (2010) and as artists-in-residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU (2009-2010).
Stuck Elevator is a project of Creative Capital, which currently receives support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The TOBY Fund, The James Irvine Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and more than 150 other individuals and institutional donors. In addition, the development of Stuck Elevator has received an Award for Innovation from 4Culture, an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and support from the Asian & Pacific Islander/Artist Presenting Initiative (API/2) at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), supported by the James Irvine Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
“Stuck In Elevator, No Way Out”
Northwest Asian Weekly
“Stuck Elevator Opera”
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