Reston Community Center is pleased to welcome Lifetime Achievement Obie Award winner and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong to the CenterStage. The Obie Awards honor the highest caliber of off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway theater to recognize brave work, champion new material, and advance careers in theater. Ping Chong has been creating for and engaging audiences for 50 years with critically acclaimed results. His approach to artist residency work in communities has elevated the exploration of what makes us human to inspiring and moving levels of powerful expression across many media.
New York-based Ping Chong and Company have a residency format that has been developed over many years in dozens of locations nationwide. Ping Chong and his artists create performances featuring the stories of local communities with particular emphasis on people and communities not typically represented in theatrical works.
In Reston, Ping Chong and Company artist Sara Zatz will partner with local theater artist Tuyết Thị Phạm to create Generations Rise: Reston, which features the heartwarming and heartbreaking real-life stories of five Restonians as they navigated the pre- and post-pandemic world. The Restonians who have been selected to tell their stories are Robin Feldman, Carmah Owen, Rosa Simon, Semret Worku, and Natsu Zavala. While not professional actors, they have crafted intensely moving portrayals of struggle and triumph.
“To connect with an artist of Ping Chong’s stature is thrilling for us,” said RCC board chair Bev Cosham. “His visit will offer a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a theatrical trailblazer. The work his company and our local team have created will reach deep into our emotional wells and surface the compelling stories of how we navigated these last traumatic years. It promises to be both a revealing and a healing experience.”
Chong, who recently announced his impending retirement, is recognized as one of the country’s most significant multidisciplinary artists. He has created more than 100 major works for the stage. Ping Chong and Company transcends boundaries, exploring the interconnectedness of cultures and how multifaceted identities are addressed in society.
“Fifty years have passed since I began my life as a theater practitioner. I am now in the process of retiring,” said Chong. “I will be 77 years old this year and it is time for reflecting on a fortunate, rich life. Time passes. I am delighted to share this moment of transition here in Reston. If theater can do one thing, it is to bring community together. Thank you for this opportunity to remind us all that we are all connected by our humanity, that we are all human beings regardless of where we come from. All islands connect under water.”
The work will be supported by RCC’s staff and documented on video by Storycatcher Productions, Inc. “It’s not often that we have such creative tools with which to examine shared experiences or to illuminate the perspectives of people unused to the spotlight coming to their lives,” said RCC executive director Leila Gordon. “Being part of this kind of experience can be life-changing. We also want to remind people of our Fee Waiver program which can support participation in this and all our programs regardless of financial resources.”
Events taking place during the Ping Chong Residency include:
Story Circle with Ping Chong and Company
Monday, March 13
RCC Hunter Woods – the CenterStage
Free; Registration Requested, Click here
Join artists from Ping Chong and Company and connect with other Reston community members to share, listen, and learn about our individual and collective relationships to where we live. Story Circles invite us to share our unique individual stories with others from our community in a guided, facilitated way. As we listen and share, we’ll discover connections, differences, and intersections in our stories that inspire us to learn about our individual and collective relationship to Reston.
An Evening with Ping Chong
Wednesday, March 15
RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage
$15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston Click for Tickets
Theater artist and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong will join Reston Community Center for a conversation about theater and social transformation. Chong will share his visually compelling body of work — ranging from puppet theater to large-scale, multidisciplinary projects to community-based programs — that have been presented at some of the most illustrious venues around the globe. Chong will lead a discussion of the evolution of his theater work in relationship to the changes in contemporary arts and culture over the last 50 years. It is recommended that children under 16 be accompanied by an adult.
Generations Rise: Reston
Friday, March 24, 8:00 p.m. & Saturday, March 25, 8:00 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage
$10 Reston/ $15 Non-Reston Click for Tickets
Acclaimed New York theater group Ping Chong and Company will partner with Reston Community Center and local theater artist Tuyết Thị Phạm to create Generations Rise: Reston, to uplift and share real-life stories made by people from Reston, VA, reflecting on the challenges and joys of living in Reston during a time of pandemic and global upheaval.
About Reston Community Center
Each year, RCC offers thousands of positive, self-development experiences that enhance the quality of life for all people living and working in Reston. RCC provides a wide range of programs in arts, aquatics, enrichment, and lifelong learning. The agency also creates and sustains community traditions through special events, outreach activities, and facility rentals. To find programs or events, visit restoncommunitycenter.com or call 703-476-4500.
About Ping Chong and Company
Ping Chong and Company (PCC) creates theater and art that reveal beauty, invention, precision, and a commitment to social justice. Founded in New York City in 1975 by leading theatrical innovator and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong, the company engages multigenerational interdisciplinary artists to build on and expand a prolific catalog — at the root of which is Ping Chong and his singular and visionary body of work. The company’s work centers innovation, collaboration, community engagement, and amplifies underrepresented voices. pingchong.org
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services, and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For further information, contact Reston Community Center at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, or visit the website at restoncommunitycenter.com. Reston Community Center’s business address is 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA 20191. The two RCC facilities are located in Hunters Woods Village Center and at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston.