Silk Road Rising’s “The Hundred Flowers Project” Review – Paradigms on a Bullet Train


If your hot button issue is the unrecognized downsides of rapidly morphing technology this will likely be your top pick play of the year.  


First and foremost know before you go that this is cerebral fare.   Consider these three scenes, as examples.





What you see is a play within a play that morphs into another performance yet again.  Along the way first person gives out to third person.  A moment is immediately forgotten because a “new beginning” has occurred.  By the third act, we are meant to see paradigms shifting with every line.   All of this is an acted out metaphor for Mao’s idea of continuing revolution.


The notion underpinning the script is that the zeitgeist of China’s Cultural Revolution can be interpreted by the zeitgeist of our times, where technology shifts make for rapid changing paradigms too.  There is an equivalency implied for the pernicious aspects of today’s technology and the groupthink reality of a vehicle like Facebook with the murderous Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.


Although the program notes include a recap of modern Chinese history, being a serious student of Chinese history won’t help you with this play.  Rather, it might get in the way. 


For a compelling dramatization of how the Chinese Revolution destroyed lives and a moving portrayal of the grand epic of modern Chinese history watch a film like “Farewell My Concubine”.   Come to this play instead if you are interested in experiencing a script that is a play of ideas, or perhaps better put as a play of notions. 


By staging this production Silk Road Rising shows us again that it is out to re-invent the theater experience.  Bravo!


Here is a clip of the Director, Joanie Schultz, explaining her thoughts on what you will see.



Running now through November 23.


Silk Road Rising Ensemble

The Chicago Temple Building

77 West Washington Street, Chicago


For tickets call 312 857 1234 x201 or visit the Silk Road Rising website.


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