Monologues of n Women is a new Chinese-American devised theatre work, comprised of eight stories that dissect the ordeals that many women have faced, such as sexual assault, unrealistic body standards, and the rigidity of societal expectations.

An ensemble of seven Chinese-American actresses portrays the devisers who helped bring the show to life, walking through their individual experiences as women who have lived in both China and the West. Together, they realize that these are, in fact, universal experiences shared amongst many women – they are not alone.

Through a combination of theatre, dance, original music, and poetry, Monologues of n Women not only explores the difficulties and hopes that women face in modern-day society, but also provides a platform for open conversation for audiences of all cultural backgrounds.

The team behind Monologues of n Women resides in various cities across the US and Europe, but all share the experience of sitting between Chinese and Western cultures, with much of the team having grown up in China. Thus, Monologues of n Women will be in Chinese, and English translations will be incorporated seamlessly into the set design.

Monologues of n Women has received grant funding from 4Culture, the US-China Education Trust, and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, as well as crowdfunding from a successful Kickstarter campaign. The world premiere of Monologues of n Women will be at Seattle’s Theatre Puget Sound Theatre 4 on September 16th, 2022.

Director’s Note

Thank you for coming to see Monologues of n Women. I want to tell you how it all got started.

An hour and forty-eight minutes away from my mother’s hometown is a town called Fengxian. Numerous women have been trafficked there for forced marriages and forced childbearing. In February of
2022, one such woman was found there chained up in a shed, and her story went viral. Outraged at the news, I shared it with my family and my mother told me that she almost got trafficked as well when she was in her 20s. She said she escaped thanks to
her own quick thinking, but was it not just luck? If the man had been armed, if there had been more of them, nothing could have saved her.

That night, I was tossing and turning in bed reflecting on my own life growing up. Compared to the chained woman, I am extremely lucky. Yet, I still experience countless invisible chains weaving their way into all aspects of my life. Those misogynistic words and ideas from parents, teachers, and media shaped my worldview before I could even understand them. With that revelation, I decided that I want to use theatre as a tool to document the chained
woman and our collective trauma, to explore what it’s like to be a “woman”. I didn’t expect there to be so many people who feel the same way and would volunteer to create the show together. We are all passionate, sincere, and dedicated and we bonded over our shared experience.

We have many things that we want to express but it’s impossible to put it all in a two-hour show. We hope that Monologues of n Women is just the beginning. The beginning of everyone expressing and resonating, of listening and being heard, of embracing our emotions, no matter whether it’s painful or joyful,
and of healing.

Christie Zhao

Playwright’s Notes

The creating process is about listening to different
voices and letting them be heard. One person might
not be able to fight against the world but can seek to
find a balance in the “ecosystem” around her. I hope
this piece could somehow support your own journey.

Siming Lu

Women are experiencing a group identity crisis. The struggle is not only between the waves of ideological iterations, but also the gap between individual ideals and reality. Men are born while women are made, gazed and shaped. What kind of person can a woman who is completely unsculpted grow into? Before we have the wisdom to answer that question, we must learn about the invisible but unneglectable contexts, the stamp of times under the scrape of history, the deconstruction and reconstruction within a society framework, the order and disorder, and the
resilience and resilience of living individuals. We must never acquiesce to a society of collective aphasia, nor foster a monistic value, and more importantly, we must keep discovering and questioning how we individuals reflect the world and how the world reflects our true self.

Melanie Zeng