by Christopher Chen

Crowded Fire Theatre Company
San Francisco, CA

Scenic: Maya Linke
Costumes: Miyuki Bierlein
Lighting: Heather Basarab
Sound: Brendan Aanes
Video: Wesley Carbal

“If you feel reality shifting beneath your feet early in Christopher Chen’s The Hundred Flowers Project, just relax and enjoy the ride. Those earthquakes are most likely part of the play. And two hours of hairpin-turn paradigm shifts make for some very exciting theater in the world premiere that opened Monday at Crowded Fire Theater’s new Thick House home… Developed and produced with Playwrights Foundation, Flowers revels in a mixed-media meta-theatricality that unfolds its unexpected twists with sharp clarity. As the live and onscreen action spins out of control, Chen and director Desdemona Chiang keep the themes and possible plots fully accessible.”


Rob Hurwitt, SF Chronicle

“It doesn’t matter how much I talk about The Hundred Flowers Project; there’s no way I can adequately capture the dueling senses of chaos and exquisitely crafted architecture that make up Christopher Chen’s play, which in its own way is as ambitious as the mammoth theatrical project that the characters in it are creating—one that, of course, is also called The Hundred Flowers Project. In fact, the more I talk about it the less I feel I ought to, because so much of its magic lies in the unexpected places it goes in Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation’s world premiere production, dazzlingly staged by Desdemona Chiang with a superb cast and exquisitely coordinated technical elements.”

Sam Hurwitt, The Idiolect

“There’s something utterly primal about the premise of this Crowded Fire/Playwrights Foundation co-production: members of a San Francisco theater collective gather to create, in the most organic, zeitgeist-melding way, a dazzling piece of theater about the life and rule of Mao Tse Tung that has deep metaphorical connection to our own times. These theater folk are pretentious – the words “zeitgeist” and “congealing” are used so often they may cause indigestion – but they’re also real artists trying to create something new and interesting and meaningful… a fascinating, even compelling piece of theater that feels like it really is about the here and now. OK, OK. You might even say it actually taps into the zeitgeist.”

Chad Jones, TheaterDogs