Salesman之死

by Jeremy Tiang

directed by Michael Leibenluft

co-conceived by Jeremy Tiang and Michael Leibenluft

In 1983, Arthur Miller traveled to Beijing to direct the Chinese premiere of Death of a Salesman.

This is our story of what might have happened, both on stage and off, and what it says about China, the U.S., and the power — and pitfalls — of telling stories across cultures.

In 1983, Arthur Miller traveled to Beijing to direct a production of Death of a Salesman at the Beijing People’s Art Theater. Miller collaborated closely with actor Ying Ruocheng, who played Willy Loman, translated the play, and would later star in Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor.

Salesman之死 is a new bilingual play that explores this historic collaboration between these two theater titans by taking a deep dive into the wide cultural space between China and the West.

The play draws on Miller’s and Ying’s journal to recreate this historical moment of unusual openness and curiosity between America and China. It then leaps forward to the present day to reveal a very different dynamic between the two countries and the reverberating myth of the American dream.

Photographer: Oliver Rockwell.

Jeremy Tiang (Playwright and Co-Conceiver)

Jeremy Tiang's plays include A Dream of Red Pavilions (Pan Asian Rep, NYC) and The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth, London), and his translations from Chinese include plays by Si'an Chen and Zhang Zai (New and Now: Plays From China, Royal Court, London), Xu Nuo (Manchester Royal Exchange), Wei Yu-Chia (PEN World Voices), Quah Sy Ren and Han Lao Da (Arts House, Singapore), and Zhan Jie (Arcola Queer Collective). He is also the translator of more than ten books, including novels by Li Er, Chan Ho-Kei, Zhang Yueran and Yeng Pway Ngon, as well as the author of a short story collection, It Never Rains on National Day, and a novel, State of Emergency (Singapore Literature Prize, 2018). Jeremy trained as an actor at Drama Centre London, and is an alumnus of the Page 73 Interstate Group.

Development

  • Salesman之死 was developed from 2017-2018 at LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, at the 14th St. Y.

  • A workshop of Salesman之死 was presented as part of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center’s Rough Draft Festival on April 4, 5, and 6th 2018. The piece was performed by Julia Brothers, Vivian Chiu, Chun Cho, Julia Gu, and Jing Xu, with dramaturgy/lighting design by Xingying Peng, stage management/associate producing by Elisabeth Ng, sound design by Fan Zhang, and costume/set design by An-lin Dauber. All photos and this website are from this workshop presentation.