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

Table of contents

Introduction to Volume 3 by Raymond Zhou

Notes on Staging

A Dream Like a Dream


On the Contributors



These volumes feature works from across Lai’s career, providing an exceptional selection of a diverse range of performances.
Volume Three contains:
A Dream Like a Dream

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.

“At certain moments in history, courageous artists arise to lead the way. Stan Lai is one such artist. His theatre addresses the central issues of our time while helping to escort us, via rich theatrical landscapes, into a better understanding of community and individual responsibility. His work is poetic but always on a human scale. This volume of his selected plays provides a welcome addition to the growing appreciation for his remarkable accomplishments.”
—Anne Bogart, Columbia University School of the Arts, and Co-Artistic Director of SITI Company

- Anne Bogart

“Stan Lai, one of the most prolific playwrights and brilliant theatre directors in the Chinese-speaking world during the past four decades, has constantly reinvented himself. Never resting on his laurels, he has untiringly innovated, inspiring numerous artists working in theatre and film with everything from his improvisational techniques to his themes of deep cultural significance and universal resonance. In this beautiful translation, the bilingual playwright makes a wide selection of his plays exploring memory, cultural identity, humor, and the cycles of death and rebirth available to an English audience for the first time. These poignant plays will be read and performed for many decades to come.”
—Tze-lan D. Sang, Professor of Chinese Literature and Media, Michigan State University

- Tze-lan D. Sang

"There is no doubt in my mind that A Dream Like a Dream is a major milestone in Chinese theatre, possibly the greatest Chinese-language play since time immemorial. It is just not the most accessible play from Stan Lai. The transcendent wisdom and innovation have combined to create a cultural event, as well as a viewing experience that is at once singularly challenging and endlessly rewarding."
—Raymond Zhou, in China Daily, 15 April 2013

- Raymond Zhou

“Playwright, director, cultural ambassador, and internationally renowned theatre artist, Stan Lai is a global visionary. He is not only a singular leader in the formation of modern Taiwanese theatre, but also an artist who uses the space of performance to forge historical and geographic connection. This collection is a gift to anyone who cares about the transnational relevance of the theatre in the 21st century.”
—Shannon Jackson, University of California, Berkeley

- Shannon Jackson

"In Ago, one of Asia’s most important theatrical voices, Stan Lai, has brought to life yet another illuminating theatrical spectacle. This unique experience, in the words of Shannon Jackson, who invited Lai to compose the piece at Berkeley, is a new kind of theatre, one equipped to respond to the pressures of the 21st century.' It certainly shows us the difficult path ahead for our fragile and increasingly conflicted world."
—Yu, Kuo-hwa, Taipei National University of the Arts, in Critical Stages, June 2020

- Yu, Kuo-hwa

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