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This week David Peck, chair of the performing arts department, directs his final Milton production in what will be his twentieth year at the Academy. For his directorial finale, David chose the play Lute Song, adapted from the classical, centuries-old tale from Pi-Pa-Chi and adapted for Broadway in the 1940s. The story is about Tsai-Yong, a young Chinese student who leaves his wife, parents and provincial life to become part of the larger world. He becomes a famous magistrate and is forced into marriage, becoming husband to the daughter of a prince. The tale follows the relationships that play out while Tsai-Yong reconciles his new life with his old.

“It’s a very romantic, very painful love story,” David says. “What I like is that it’s quite complex; none of the roles are simplistic. It’s a traditional Chinese tale, and it’s traditional in the way it’s presented. People in China often don’t know the play by name, but they know the story. The story and the set we’ve created are simple, compelling, and beautiful. This production isn’t about spectacle, it’s about emotion.”

Lute Song will take the stage in Ruth King Theatre on Thursday, May 15, and Friday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, May 17, at 7 p.m.