Affliction

Isaac does battle with God; Song of the Pipa submits to the state

Under the red flag: A guard (Cy Thao) and Gao Hong in Song of the Pipa
Under the red flag: A guard (Cy Thao) and Gao Hong in Song of the Pipa

Shiomi closes his play with an evocative moment, as the exiled poet and the exiled calligrapher rise and together write the same words in the air. "It is funny," they write, "how one life can be turned upside down and inside out and still be the same life." These men are stoic in their misery, declaring things like "China has suffered, I have survived." They furtively turn their pain into art, and only Gao Hong's exquisite music weeps for them.

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