John Cai

John Cai

John(Yide) Cai is a playwright, a fiction writer but ultimately a poet, studying Playwriting and German Studies at Emory University, comes from China but has stayed in America for almost seven years, formly wanted to study philosophy but now wants to write stories with philosophical insights instead of research papers, is deeply interested in Chinese culture and history, loves reading European literature but...
John(Yide) Cai is a playwright, a fiction writer but ultimately a poet, studying Playwriting and German Studies at Emory University, comes from China but has stayed in America for almost seven years, formly wanted to study philosophy but now wants to write stories with philosophical insights instead of research papers, is deeply interested in Chinese culture and history, loves reading European literature but also knows a lot about America. He loves playing around with abstract concepts and history, riffing off older works, impersonating historical figures but always manages to speak from his heart. His words are poetic and stylized without being flowery or melodramatic, symbolic without being over literary.

Plays

  • The Rice Eaters
    Fan Gao, his family and friends are Chinese workers trapped in a factory called Da Feng village; their job is to copy Van Gogh; their employers are from Germany and Hong Kong; their products are sold all over the world; they paint Starry Night in half an hour but get paid very little. They want to escape; they want to paint their own works; they want to be free.
  • The Pythagoreans
    In an alternative reality of the ancient Greek and Roman antiquity, Melos the disciple of philosopher Pythagroas comes to assassinate the tyrant king of Syracuse Dionysius who is disillusioned by his family history and lost the trust to other human beings. Melos fails and is caught. Wanting to make an example out of him, Dionysius agrees to give Melos three more days to live and bid farewell to his sister...
    In an alternative reality of the ancient Greek and Roman antiquity, Melos the disciple of philosopher Pythagroas comes to assassinate the tyrant king of Syracuse Dionysius who is disillusioned by his family history and lost the trust to other human beings. Melos fails and is caught. Wanting to make an example out of him, Dionysius agrees to give Melos three more days to live and bid farewell to his sister Penelope, but Melos has to give up his friend Selinuntius as hostage: if he does not return in time, his friend will die for him. Meanwhile, the young disciple of Selinuntius, Philostratus, sees the opportunity to realize his ambition. It’s a clash and struggle between love, belief and doubt, cynicism, desire, ambition. It’s how everything started; the origin of the western mind. How do we live on, if no one is perfect and innocent, carrying debt and guilt?
  • The Second Nature
    In the beginning is the prayer of a boy named Hans out of his love of nature represented by the garden of his family house. God answers his prayer and gives three miracles to his dog Pu, a dragonfly in the garden Xuan, and a bat in the night sky Klauber. The three of them each have a vision for Hans: Pu wants to protect him as a boy; Xuan wants to take him on an adventure to find the truth of the world as a...
    In the beginning is the prayer of a boy named Hans out of his love of nature represented by the garden of his family house. God answers his prayer and gives three miracles to his dog Pu, a dragonfly in the garden Xuan, and a bat in the night sky Klauber. The three of them each have a vision for Hans: Pu wants to protect him as a boy; Xuan wants to take him on an adventure to find the truth of the world as a spirit; Klaber wants him to dwell in the darkness as a ghost. They struggle over their visions. As a result, Hans realizes he can’t belong to nature, because humans, especially the adults, already have a second nature.
  • New Sun
    Based on historical events, in the 50s, Qian, a top nuclear scientist in America and his wife Ying a renown violinist are persecuted under Mccarthyism and deported back to the communist China, a distant home they are both familiar and enstranged. They are reunited with their childhood friends Zhang and Ping who are now high-ranking officials of the government. In this new environment, Qian wants to develope...
    Based on historical events, in the 50s, Qian, a top nuclear scientist in America and his wife Ying a renown violinist are persecuted under Mccarthyism and deported back to the communist China, a distant home they are both familiar and enstranged. They are reunited with their childhood friends Zhang and Ping who are now high-ranking officials of the government. In this new environment, Qian wants to develope nuclear weapons for China, while Ying wants to change the profile of the national orchestra. Meanwhile, the political unrest in China is on the rise. How should history be narrated, epic or personal? Do they get to make history or history gets to make them?
  • The Age of Silver
    Silver, Brown, Red are trapped in the Corporate, a created reality deprived of life, and the biography Silver is writing about his uncle will determine whether or not it will change.
  • I’m Hungry
    A mosquito comes to the rescue of a man who is getting fired and promises him success, but this partnership comes with a price.
  • The Spheres
    Astronomer Copernicus is at the end of his life, but he still struggles with whether or not to finish and publish the work of his life, the book about the heliocentric model of the universe. Is it better to keep this secret and let it die with him or to let the words spread and shake up the world? Barbara, his sister, a pious nun, is firmly against it, while Philostratus, the ghost of an ancient Greek scholar...
    Astronomer Copernicus is at the end of his life, but he still struggles with whether or not to finish and publish the work of his life, the book about the heliocentric model of the universe. Is it better to keep this secret and let it die with him or to let the words spread and shake up the world? Barbara, his sister, a pious nun, is firmly against it, while Philostratus, the ghost of an ancient Greek scholar, urges him to tell the truth. Meanwhile, the protestant reformation is gaining momentum. The world is about to change.
  • Coping With Paradise
    The life of Alex Doukas as a philosopher in the current morden American society surrounded by privileged upper-class people. A reflection on the meaning of existence of American intellectuals.
  • Lucky Loser
    Myles Handelsen, the once future of American tennis and the lost generation after the golden age of American tennis, is on a losing streak and seemingly wasting away his talent. With the help of his girlfriend, can he find his true motivation for tennis?
  • A Taste Of Utopia
    As a new perspective and reinterpretation of the first half of 20th century, the play goes through the entire life of Cui who is a the leader of his village during the Chinese communist revolution, how he tries to practice socialism and build a small independent state inside China. It's a mirror on American history and idenity.
  • The Narrative of Sadie The Golden Retriever of The Emst Family
    Based on "The Narrative of The Life Of Frederick Douglass," from the prespective of Saide a godlen retriever, she tells how she and Jon, an international student met and learnt from him how to speak human language.
  • The Aftermath Of Inspiration
    A young writer couples, Ethan and Jessica get to visit the house of their childhood hero, senior author James J. Fabius for the first time. During their interaction, the clash between two generations of writers, the three of them start to challenge and change their original understanding of themselves and writing.
  • The White Phoenix
    The play is a drama story about Annie who is an abandoned Chinese girl adopted to an American family due to one-child policy, and Cunyi who is a Chinese international student. They meet each other in high school and discover together their true past and identity.
  • Gone With The Bus
    Jon and George had been each other's best friend in a Chinese high school and were attracted by the other’s differences and uniqueness, but the structure and pressure of both American and Chinese society and the education system slowly broke their friendship apart. It seems that there is nowhere that this friendship belongs. As Jon returns from his American college, George finds him and tries to fix their relationship.