"I support you when you need, so that you support me when I need."
An elegant and sweeping story of a Chinese family’s history, trace follows the footsteps of four generations as their homes and identities are challenged. Jeff Ho brings life to his great grandmother, grandmother, and mother through considerate storytelling as they recount their pasts, leading to a paralleled present.
Great Grandmother fled the Japanese during World War II by escaping China into Hong Kong, a traumatic event that’s rippled down the family line. Grandmother married into the family after a childhood of poverty that will always stay with her. Mother decided to leave Hong Kong for Canada with her two sons, pursuing more opportunities, though dissatisfied with her son’s desire to focus on the piano rather than math. Though pain is a constant, there are plenty of wisecracks, games of mah jong, and familiar family anecdotes swirling through Ho’s genealogical journey of survival.
trace is performed with two pianos; they stand in for any male dialogue. Their lines are revealed in the book.
The book includes the music.
Jeff Ho is a Toronto-based theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. As a playwright, his works include Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land); Antigone: 方; and trace. He has held residencies with the Stratford Festival, Nightswimming, Cahoots, the Banff Playwrights Lab, and Factory Theatre, and is a Bulmash-Siegel Playwright-in-Residence with Tarragon Theatre. Jeff has received a Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best New Canadian Play for Iphigenia and the Furies, has been thrice nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award—twice for performance and once as a playwright—and has been awarded a Harold Award. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School.
“Ho’s Chinese-Canadian immigration saga will resonate with anyone whose family has been forced to relocate, conveying universal themes of hardship, escape and hope distilled through the anxiety of defying great expectations to chart one’s own course.”- Jordan Bimm, NOW Magazine
“With immigration issues continuing to divide countries around the world, trace is a timely, insightful and well-told tale that humanizes one family’s experience.”- Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen
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