Winner of three Toronto Theatre Critics Awards (Best New Musical, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor), Mr. Shi and His Lover is a contemporary Mandarin-language music theatre work inspired by the real-life relationship of the Peking opera performer and the French diplomat who thought his lover was a woman. This work explores love and intimacy, gender and sexual politics, individual identity and the complexity of nationhood through seven scenes of sung and spoken monologues and dialogues, while evoking music from East and West, contemporary and classical, from Peking opera to 1960s vintage pop.
Premiering at SummerWorks in Toronto in 2016, followed by a run at Tarragon Theatre and the National Arts Centre English Theatre in 2017/18, Mr. Shi and His Lover is the first-ever Chinese-language production in these major Canadian venues.
Straddling the traditions of both opera and musicals, this musical and theatrical exploration challenges the audience’s expectation. The work keeps the audience in constant suspense, both with the arguments presented and with the ever-shifting musical narratives.
Created by an all Chinese team from Toronto and Macau, Mr. Shi and His Lover has an unmistakably Chinese aesthetic, but reflects and examines contemporary issues within an international context, joining the global conversation about identity in the present day, offering a specific perspective on what it means to be human in the here and now.