Bringing the iconic plays of Stan Lai to an English-language readership

Table of contents

Introduction to Volume 2, by Raymond Zhou

Millennium Teahouse

Sand on a Distant Star

Bardo Blues

The Village

Writing in Water

On the Contributors



These volumes feature works from across Lai’s career, providing an exceptional selection of a diverse range of performances.
Volume Two contains:
Millennium Teahouse
Sand on a Distant Star
Like Shadows
The Village
Writing in Water

Stan Lai (Lai Shengchuan) is one of the most celebrated theatre practitioners working in the Chinese-speaking world. His work over three decades has pioneered the course of modern Chinese language theatre in Taiwan, China, and other Chinese speaking regions. "The preeminent Chinese playwright and stage director of this generation." (China Daily) "The best Chinese language playwright and director in the world." (BBC) Lai's works include masterpieces of the modern Chinese language theatre such as Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, The Village, and his epic 8-hour A Dream Like A Dream, all of which are in this collection.

Lissa Tyler Renaud (M.A. Directing, Ph.D. Theatre History/Criticism, U.C. Berkeley, 1987) is known internationally as a master teacher, actor-scholar, invited speaker, writer, critic, and 2nd generation editor.

“To read a play by Stan Lai is to encounter an entire universe, one that escapes any cultural definition, as much as it defies all the prerequisites of national identity. Lai’s Eastern heritage is infused with Western values. His craft as a writer is matched by his theatrical acumen. His exploration of dramatic traditions is shaped by his contemporary sensitivity. Therefore, this selection of plays is not only a timely publication, but a tribute to an author whose wisdom and creativity are truly unique. Between China and America, between the East and the West, between the real and the imaginary, Stan Lai is not only a global, but a universal playwright.”
—Octavian Saiu, Professor Theatre and Comparative Literature at the National University of Theatre and Film, Romania

- Octavian Saiu

“The publishing of Stan Lai's Selected Plays in English is a major event! These plays describe a phenomenal artistic trajectory, outlining the work of a major international literary and theatre figure. Deeply felt and formally complex, the plays in these volumes comprise a profound journey—one that is only possible through the combination of poetic insight with a deep knowledge of the theatre and its practice. Stan Lai's dual identity as a writer and director informs every drama with a nuanced relationship to the stage and its visual landscape. Through these works, I discovered how completely Stan Lai bridges the consciousness of East and West—resulting in remarkable compassion and beauty. These translations are a boon to the English-speaking world.”
—Travis Preston, Dean, CalArts School of Theater, and Executive Artistic Director, CalArts Center for New Performance

- Travis Preston

"In an age where poetry and rock ’n’ roll have lost their power, the rather offbeat Millennium Teahouse lets us feel the strength and hope that live theatre can bring us. With an intricate structure and powerful tempo, high-pitched sections like ‘Feather Duster Party’ bring us to bellyaching laughter; understated sections like ‘Endology’ lead us to deep reflection, and even tears. This is difficult material for anyone who has not pierced through the human condition to write, or who has not mastered human emotions to perform."
—Wang Yi, Beijing Youth Paper, 27 November 2001

- Wang Yi

"After seeing The Village, [Taiwanese film superstar] Bridget Lin, who grew up in one of the military dependent villages in Taiwan, wrote: 'It was as if I were drunk or mad, suddenly sad, suddenly gleeful,
sometimes laughing out loud, sometimes weeping uncontrollably, like a fool.' If I hadn'tt been in the theatre myself, Lin's words sound like some incoherent babbling. But being part of this play's audience, I must say that these words are the most precise description of last night's performance."
—Pan Yu, Shanghai Eastern Morning News, 28 January 2010

- Pan Yu

Listen: Interview with Stan Lai, hosted by Andy Boyd, on the New Books Network | 06/14/2022