Yi-Hsuan (Ant) Ma, originally from Taiwan, now New York and Taiwan-based, is a scenic and production designer. Coming from a different culture and background of literature training, her approach to design is interdisciplinary and inclusive.
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
A cynical tale of an imaginary yet plausible boom town occupied by fortune seekers, prostitutes, and shady businessmen (and women) where absolutely anything goes – except having no money.
I set the story in a dark, solid, and deep cave as an environment of shelter, where human beings’ never-satisfied desire will boom in Act 2. As the story develops, they attract people like themselves — those who have nothing but money to spend and those who don’t fit in the society. In the end, the cave backs to true darkness.
Composed by: Kurt Weill
Libretto by: Bertolt Brecht
Venue: Deutsche Oper Berlin
The story would be viewed through the eyes of two patrons in the cafe watching the transition of the man as he falls in love with a woman in a newspaper photograph; the man consequently falls into a deep depression, which leads to him drowning himself with grief.
There are three processes of knowing the world / knowing how to record himself. How can I know who I am? When my existence wasn’t recorded by something (ex: newspaper) How can I define existence — remembered by someone?
Written by: María Irene Fornés
Venue: Signature Theater- The Griffin Theater
A rock musical, based on the 1891 German play, Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, that tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of adolescent sexuality.
I set it in Taiwan and in the period 1970-80 when it was under the autocracy control and starting the first industrial revolution. This is a story about how the system of education twists teenagers’ personality. School is somehow like a factory. I’m combining the idea of a greenhouse and my high school. Playing around the lockers which hide students’ secrets and their stories.
Music by: Duncan Sheik
Book and Lyrics: Steven Sater
Venue: St. James Theater
A story based on Abraham Cahan’s 1896 novella “Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto” tells the story of Jewish immigrants who come to the Lower East Side of New York City in 1896 from Eastern Europe and live on Hester Street in Manhattan.
My emotional response is: their marriage isn’t strong enough to support their different dreams. Marriage, also a metaphor for their past memories, ties them together in the beginning. They are struggling with how to be American – what to keep, what to lose, how to adapt.
Production design class project
Directed and screenplay adapted by: Joan Micklin Silver
Venue: Stage 3 at Steiner Studios
In Pagliacci, Canio is the leader of a traveling vaudeville troupe. Nedda, his unfaithful, young wife plans to run away with her lover. The plans are foiled by her spurned admirer Tonio -with equally tragic consequences.
Pagliacci was regularly performed by theater troupes and audiences still look forward to it and are excited to welcome them. The relationship between villagers and troupe is special because they are very familiar with each other. I connected the emotion to Taiwanese opera in my hometown. Every time we had an event near a temple, a traveling theater troupe would come and perform for the villagers of every small town in Taiwan.