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Monday, Jul 21, 2014 - Canvassed | Art & culture

Moxie Theatre's season closer has 'heart'

Story of Chinese-American girl's identity quest is simple but affecting

By David Coddon
Moxie jpeg Dana Wing Lau (right) stars in Jade Heart.
- Photo courtesy of Moxie Theatre

Identity is so often a question probed by the thoughtful productions at Moxie Theatre, and its ninth-season closer, Jade Heart, is no exception. Playwright Will Cooper's story of Jade (Dana Wing Lau), abandoned by her natural mother in a Chinese marketplace as an infant, then adopted and raised in the U.S. by Brenda McCullough (Julie Sachs) is straightforward in its primary questions: If your genetic roots are in one place but all you know is another place, what are you? Who are you?

Jade Heart flits back and forth in time, showing us Jade as a little girl playing with dolls, as a rebellious teenager in requisite leather jacket and as a doctoral student and (later) Ph.D. who falls in love with the chivalrous Duan Chengshi (Albert Park). The back-and-forth narrative isn't confusing because the story is simple enough, revolving not only around Jade's "Who am I?" dilemma but her relationship with her "U.S. mom." Moxie's done more profound work than this in Season 9, but Jade Heart certainly is entertaining, and its atmospherics (haunting Chinese music, actors in masks moving in shadows from the wings) give the production a soft, dreamy quality.

Jade Heart runs through Aug. 10.

 
 
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