"Bringing King to China" to screen this Tuesday in Gannett

Posted by Sandy Zhang

This Tuesday, Feb. 7, "Bringing King to China," a film about an American teacher's struggle to stage a play about Martin Luther King Jr. in China, will screen in Gannett Auditorium.

Cáitrín McKiernan was inspired to produce the play – "Passages of Martin Luther King Jr." by Clayborne Carson – in China when her protests against the Iraq War failed. Her goal was to reveal a positive, nonviolent aspect of America to the Chinese.

McKiernan wanted the play's examination of King's life and beliefs to create a positive connection between Chinese society and American society.

"By talking about Martin Luther King, Chinese people maybe will see a different side of Americans and maybe Americans will also see a different side of Chinese people," said McKiernan in the film. "That's the beauty of it."

The film chronicles the process of winning government support, obtaining funding and recruiting professional Chinese stage actors as well as American gospel singers to participate in the production. Beyond that, the film examines how the teachings of King, whose "I Have a Dream" speech was extoled by Mao Zedong, resonate with a contemporary Chinese audience.

McKiernan hoped King's message of peaceful struggle and nonviolence protest would provide a means for the audience to examine the forms of discrimination that exist in Chinese society.

A discussion with Kevin McKiernan, Cáitrín McKiernan's father as well as producer and director of "Bringing King to China," will follow the screening. To learn more about the film, visit bringingkingtochina.com.

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