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Contemporary theatre artist Ping Chong re-creates his 'Nosferatu' at Virginia Tech

October 30, 2017

Nosferatu
"Nosferatu: A Vampire Tale For Our Times" runs for eight performances beginning Nov. 7.

Virginia Tech students have the opportunity to work with internationally recognized theatre artist and innovator Ping Chong as he directs his work “Nosferatu: A Vampire Tale For Our Times,” as part of the School of Performing Arts’ 2017–2018 Mainstage series.

The production will run Nov. 7–15 on the Virginia Tech campus.

Chong is no stranger to Blacksburg. His “Truth and Beauty,” a work that Virginia Tech commissioned, premiered in 1999. In 2004, he visited the university for the development and world premiere of “God Favors the Predator.”

Earlier this year, theatre faculty member Randy Ward, a long-time friend and collaborator of Chong’s, approached him about reviving his 1985 work “Nosferatu” at Virginia Tech. Chong agreed.

“Nosferatu: A Vampire Tale For Our Times” is an interdisciplinary performance piece that combines elements of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic vampire film, original text, choreography, sound, and mask work. Set in a modern upscale apartment, “Nosferatu” portrays a shallow, affluent couple and their friends, who are all unaware of the changing world around them and the deterioration lying just beneath the surface of their lives.

Chong, a pioneer in the use of media in the theatre, uses theatrical works to infuse major issues of our time with his unique artistic vision, bringing unheard voices and underrepresented stories to the stage. His works encompass puppetry, dance, documentary theatre, sound, media, and other experimental theatre forms. A common thread throughout his work has been a unifying commitment to artistic innovation and social responsibility.

Kevin Foster, a sophomore theatre major from Richmond, Virginia, is one of the students performing in the play. He says working under Chong’s direction has taught him unique acting techniques for characterization. “Characters have very stylized choreography and movement,” said Foster. “It’s like voguing.”

Chong is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two Bessie Awards, two Obie Awards, and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In 2014, he was honored with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the U.S. government. He is also a recipient of the 2017–2018 Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship.

Chong is the artistic director of Ping Chong + Company, which produces theatrical works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our time. He founded the company in 1975 with a mission to create works of theatre and art that explore the intersections of race, culture, history, art, media, and technology in the modern world. Productions range from intimate oral history projects to grand-scale cinematic multidisciplinary productions featuring puppets, performers, and full music and projection scores.

Performances of “Nosferatu: A Vampire Tale For Our Times” are:

  • Nov. 7-10 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.
  • Nov. 13–15 at 7:30 p.m.

All performances are in the Studio Theatre, located in the Squires Student Center at 290 College Avenue on the Virginia Tech campus.

Tickets and parking

Tickets, which are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students, may be purchased online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Student Centers and Activities Ticket Office on the first floor of the Squires Student Center or by calling 540-231-5615. Tickets will be available at the Squires ticket office beginning one hour prior to each performance.

Free parking is available on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street; in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street; and in the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Squires parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information is available online.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please email Susan Sanders or call 540-231-5200 during regular business hours several days prior to the event.

The 2017–2018 School of Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre series will present “Fun Home,” a musical based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, on Feb. 20-28; and “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy For Serious People” by Oscar Wilde on April 18–21. Tickets for all performances are now on sale.

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