Lone's isolation, and his assumed superiority, are challenged by the advent of Ma (Ruy Iskandar), the new guy on the work gang. A crazily undisciplined mix of daydreams old and new, Ma wants to be both a Beijing opera star and a millionaire here in "gold mountain" America; he encapsulates the cultural confusions of all ethnic-minority kids. Yet his determination and his idealism have something to teach Lone. Nobody can have an identity in isolation, and in this wacky nation of immigrants, all identities get confused.

Operatic gestures: Ruy Iskandar (left) and Yuekun Wu in The Dance and the Railroad.
Joan Marcus
Operatic gestures: Ruy Iskandar (left) and Yuekun Wu in The Dance and the Railroad.


Katie Roche
By Teresa Deevy
Mint Theater
311 West 43rd Street
212-315-9434, minttheater.org

By Johnny Burke and Robert E. McEnroe
Irish Repertory Theater
132 West 22nd Street
212-255-0270, irishrep.org

The Dance and the Railroad
By David Henry Hwang
Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
212-244-7529, signaturetheatre.org

May Adrales's elegant, spare, beautifully visualized production gives Hwang's cunningly economical play a poetic feel, without scanting its underlying anguish. Both actors do well; their silences, abetted by Jiyoun Chang's quietly articulate lights, do a lot of the talking. Wu's intense impassivity as he rehearses his stylized motions (presumably choreographed by "Chinese opera consultant" Qian Yi) is particularly riveting.

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