Review by TARA PRESCOTT–JOHNSONJune 09, 2019 certified reviewer
What I liked
Chengqi Wang’s ability to play multiple roles (especially the old watchman father’s conflict with his belligerent son). I also enjoyed the poetry of the language – the opening description of what it is to experience night and time without sight, to tell time by the sounds of insects, and the ambiguity of the ending (which my partner and I are still debating).
What I didn't like
In terms of production, it was a little difficult to hear the actor at the start of the play. In terms of the script, the narrator’s reference to encountering the same people over and over again was really interesting – it would be nice to have it developed a bit more in the play.
My overall impression
Zoe Wang’s “Near Dawn” was a haunting, unexpected delight. I didn’t know what to expect going into it, and quickly became engrossed in the overlapping, time-leaping narratives of the narrator (played with facile skill by Chengqi Wang). The spare set and playful, creative use of light and sound helped immerse us into the narrator’s experience – to sense and feel the passing of time. It complemented the story well – evocative of another time and place and culture. I felt I learned something about a moment in Chinese culture and history.