Piano- the play-movie
The Piano is a fantasy-adventure theatrical play written, directed, filmed and produced by Clara Hsu for Clarion's Summer Theater 2020.
During COVID-19 shelter-in-place students ages 10 to 15 rehearsed by Zoom. They were filmed individually at Clarion. The footage is put together by videographer Brent Benaway, making it a play-movie. The film has been selected by the 2021 Children’s Film Festival Seattle and was screened on Feb 18 – 28.
From Clara Hsu: My father James Ma was a piano manufacturer in Hong Kong. He wanted me to be a musician but I took the road to poetry. Sheltering-in-place gave me the opportunity to compose music. It also challenged me to produce The Piano in a way that I hadn’t considered before. Now this play-movie will be available on the internet with a potential to reach a much wider audience.
My father’s life and my art have come together through The Piano. I hope this connection will stir curiosity in others about this most remarkable musical instrument.
Kelly, Julia and Brenda are waiting to be picked up after their piano lessons. They gossip about their teacher Ms Clara, whose father was a piano manufacturer. As the children are clowning around Kelly warns that they should be careful, as Ms Clara said if they don’t sit up with proper posture they might get sucked into the piano. They all laugh at the absurdity of the idea, not realizing that the piano suddenly grows in size. Kelly and Julia disappear, leaving Brenda confused and scared.
Inside the piano, Kelly and Julia meet Mr. Hammer, Ms Strings and Mr. Ma, the piano manufacturer. They are taken to tour Mr. Ma’s factory in 1970’s Hong Kong. A philosophical discussion follows before the children must figure out how to get back to where they come from.
The Piano is produced as a testament of tenacity and creativity of the human spirit. It was so for Mr. Ma, the piano manufacturer. It is so today, for all of us in the time of Coronavirus.
Tiffany Li Older Girl / Hammer / Harmonic
Kelly Zhen Kelly
Jacy Wong Julia
Margaret Chen Brenda / Hammer / Harmonic
Victor Li Mr. Hammer
Yvonne Yu Hammer / Harmonic
Elita Ye Ms. Strings
Nola Jesenko Steely
Joyce Tang Copper
Ronan Wong Mr. Ma
The Production Team
Clara Hsu Writer, composer, producer and director
Alex Law Choreographer
Brent Benaway Artistic and video consultant, video editor