November 10, 2023 CSA, Press Releases

Yan Pang’s One-Log Bridge is a New Opera Theater Work Breaking Barriers and Connecting Cultures

(Pittsburgh, PA) November 10, 2023—This December, the New Hazlett Theater invites audiences to the premiere of One-Log Bridge, composer Yan Pang’s new opera theater work about the immigrant experience in the U.S. This one-act opera blends Chinese and Western operatic traditions in a modern setting to explore the notions of resilience, race, immigration, and home.

“Yan Pang is a composer, librettist, artist, activist, and educator (among other things) who showcases their strength in all of these fields in the upcoming production of One-Log Bridge. The show is inspired by Yan’s journey as a first-generation immigrant and combines a mash-up of performance styles including Break Dancing, Theater, and Schiuan Opera,” says Creative Programs Manager Janus Young.

For Pang, the title is a great way to set the stage for audiences.

In Chinese culture, walking on the one-log bridge requires courage and a singular capacity moving forward to find that self-liberation,” Pang says. “The imagery of a one-log bridge is presenting the character having to walk from one side of the bridge to the other side of the bridge to chase her dream.” 

In One-Log Bridge, the main character Yan comes to study music in America. Along the way, Yan experiences hardships ranging from unmet family expectations to immigration difficulties to racism directed at Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges and their resolutions unfold onstage accompanied by different cultural expressions, which reflect Pang and her collaborators’ creative transformations when coming to America. 

“In the past, before I came to the U.S., I used chamber music or orchestra as my medium because there was less freedom of speech in China. So I let my instrument tell the story. When I came to the U.S., I felt like there were a lot of opportunities for artists like me to speak up and tell our stories. So I transitioned from art for art’s sake to art for social justice,” Pang says.

One-Log Bridge is the second of five productions in the Theater’s 2023/2024 Community Supported Art (CSA) performance series. Now in its 11th season, the CSA allows emerging artists like Pang to develop new work for the New Hazlett stage.

Pang hopes the audience will be inspired to pursue their goals after watching One-Log Bridge

I want the audience to be empowered because they will see people like them to be able to make it and achieve the American dream. So at the spot they want to give up, they can look at this story. If you just keep pushing, maybe you can make it after all!” Pang says.

One-Log Bridge has three showings only: Thursday, December 7th at 8 PM and Friday, October 8th at 10 AM & 8 PM. Individual tickets are available for purchase on the New Hazlett website. Tickets range from $20–$30. 

The One-Log Bridge production team includes Rich Keitel (director), Madi Thongmonkolchai (assistant director/assistant stage manager), Emily Vath (dramaturg), Simone Hunt (assistant director/dramaturg), Jason Noer (choreographer), and Cora Reddinger (photographer). The multi-talented cast features Amanda Sun (Yan), Mimi Konh (Min/Erhu Player), Braden Stroppel (J-sun), Lulu James (Faye), April Daras (Amy), Ben Heavner (Isaac), Ayden Freed (Ensemble/Understudy), Julia Resnick (Ensemble/Understudy), Eli Plummer (Ensemble/Understudy), and Arden Adams (Ensemble).  The music team includes AJ DePetris (music director/pianist), PJ Roduta (drummer), and Jin Pang (erhu player). The design team is Rianne Lindsday (lighting director), Jill Musser (projection director), Mary Beth Leviro (costume/props director), Emmaline Naud (scenic designer), and Stella Frazer (scenic designer). 

Yan Pang (she/they) is a composer, performer, and scholar. She is a visiting assistant professor of music at Point Park University. She received her Ph.D. in Music with a minor in Theater Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on intercultural composition and performance.

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