Review: Pitt Rep's City of Asylum

April 09, 2013
Written by: Michelle Pilecki
Published by: Pittsburgh City Paper

Alas, nothing is so taxingly certain as man's inhumanity to man, and it's difficult to get such tales to grab and hold the public's attention. The University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre's ambitious City of Asylumaims at hearts, minds and all the senses with a multimedia "stage performance," so labeled by Cynthia Croot, theater-faculty member. She conceived and directed the chapters of this one-act, which shares snapshots of the lives and works of four writers who defied death and dictators in their home countries before finding shelter with the titular Pittsburgh nonprofit. With an amazingly talented undergraduate cast and a highly imaginative design team, Croot creates an absorbing and often entertaining experience.

Asylum presents the quartet in reverse chronological order, ending with possibly the greatest poet to be hosted by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, and certainly the most heartening figure in this production. Huang Xiang (a cheerfully convincing Weiqi Li), a post-revolutionary giant in China, is perhaps best known to English-speaking locals for his "House Poem," the glorious façade of his former home on Sampsonia Way. After a stigmatized childhood and long life of hardships, Xiang has triumphed with poetry of ethereal beauty...


Read the Full Review on The Pittsburgh City Paper