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Young Americans

Undesirable Elements pairs Ping Chong with Atlanta's Youth Art Connection


As federal authorities contemplate new rules governing the detention of immigrants, 7 Stages' Undesirable Elements considers Atlanta and America from the young immigrants' point of view.

Co-produced by 7 Stages and Atlanta's Youth Art Connection, Undesirable Elements is a collaboration with acclaimed New York theater artist Ping Chong. In 1975, the writer, director and performer founded Ping Chong and Company to produce works that explore the intersections of race, culture and technology in the modern world. Honored with two Obie Awards, six NEA Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chong develops works known for lavish, multi-media productions and intricate, complex themes. Atlantans got a first-hand look at his work in Kwaidan, a haunting trio of Japanese ghost stories, produced with the Center for Puppetry Arts last summer.

Chong developed Undesirable Elements over the course of a six-week workshop with playwright Talvin Wilks and a young group of immigrant Atlantans. The finished product reflects the differences in their native and adopted lands and creates a portrait of Atlanta at odds with the city's boosterism.

Chong has developed similar "documentary theater" versions of Undesirable Elements in other cities, but this is the first youth production. The young cast of the 7 Stages show includes actors from Mexico, India, Nigeria and South Africa, giving voice to people too easily drowned out in the current political climate.

Undesirable Elements plays Sept. 27-30 at 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave., with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat. and 5 p.m. Sunday. $20. 404-523-7647. www.7Stages.org.

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