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Tiananmen Annie

solo performance · ann starbuck & julie lawrence - producers · Ages 12+ · one person show · United States of America

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Review by JENNIFER BOMBERGER

June 08, 2015 certified reviewer

My overall impression

Not entirely sure what to expect from an American’s one-woman show about the Tiananmen uprising, I was seriously impressed with this play and Ann Starbuck’s performance. The play is autobiographical, covering her year abroad in Beijing as a junior in college, then being recruited by CNN to assist reporters and producers covering the protests. The show has plenty of humor – her experience changing money on the black market, her Chinese professor whose favorite movie was Ferris Bueller – as well as insight into Chinese culture, such as her learning about guan shi (sp?) and how to earn it. The show also has suspense – escorting a hunger striker to and from Tiananmen Square for an interview with Bernard Shaw – and sorrow – her Chinese friends forced to go into hiding, giving up personal dreams for their beliefs. Ms. Starbuck does a wonderfully skillful job switching between and representing herself, her parents, her professor, her friends, her CNN producer, etc., changing voice, demeanor, and posture to make it very clear who she “is”. I highly recommend going to see Tiananmen Annie. Not only will you enjoy the performance, you’ll come away with a better understanding of Chinese culture and events being repressed in China to this day.

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