Yutian (Cry to Heaven) is the third Chinese stage adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin between 1907 and 2007. The first, Heinu yutian lu (Black Slave’s Cry to Heaven) by Zeng Xiaogu, was staged by Chinese students in Tokyo in 1907; the second, Heinu hen (Regret of the Black Slaves) by Ouyang Yuqian, was mounted as part of the fiftieth anniversary of the first production; and the third, Yutian (Cry to Heaven), commemorated the hundredth anniversary of Chinese spoken drama (huaju) in 2007. Each adaptation has a different focus that reflects the social, political, and cultural conditions of its time, and together the works provide a historical view of the development of Chinese spoken drama. The most recent production, by Nick Rongjun Yu, juxtaposes one hundred years of dramatic history with scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, making the American slaves’ struggle to gain freedom a metaphor for Chinese dramatists’ efforts to achieve their own.

Yu Rongjun, also known as Nick Rongjun Yu, is the author of more than twenty plays, including Renmo gouyang (Dog’s Face), WWW.COM, and Tiantang gebi shi fengrenyuan (The Asylum Next to Heaven). His plays have won many prizes in China and have been performed in Hong Kong, Taipei, the United States, and other countries. Besides being a playwright, he is director of programming and marketing for the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center.

Shiao-ling Yu is an associate professor of Chinese at Oregon State University. Her research interests are Chinese drama (both classical and modern), modern Chinese literature, and Chinese women writers. She is the translator and editor of the anthology Chinese Drama after the Cultural Revolution, 1979–1989 (1996 ), which was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. Her other publications have appeared in various book anthologies and scholarly journals such as Asian Theatre Journal, TDR: The Drama Review, CHINOPERL Papers, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, The China Quarterly, Concerning Poetry, Renditions, Tamkang Review, Honglou meng yanjiu jikan (Studies of the Dream of the Red Chamber), and Dushu (Reading ).


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