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'M. Butterfly' weaves web of deception, cruelty at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre

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Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre continues its string of blockbuster classic plays with the opening of the 1998 Tony Award winning production M. Butterfly, directed by Linda Ade Brand and featuring two extremely talented actors, Robert Gibby Brand and Vi Tran.

M. Butterfly’s three week run begins Jan. 9 and continues through Jan. 26 with 14 scheduled performances, many expected to sell out, according the MET box office. Ticket demand is strong before the show opens.

Written by David Henry Hwang, "M. Butterfly" won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1998. The play examines humanity's propensity for desire, self-deception, betrayal and regret. According to the playwright, the drama also penetrates the common myths of eastern and western civilization, as well as the myths about gender identity.

“We had a great rehearsal last night for M. Butterfly,” Karen Paisley, artistic director of the MET, said, of the Jan. 6 rehearsal. “The artists involved are doing beautiful, generous extraordinary work. I am so proud and humbled to have this play on our stage and the artists in it: Such great love for our team!”

According to a press release from the MET, “Shamed and imprisoned, 65-year-old French diplomats, Rene Gallimard contemplates the events that led to a shocking and embarrassing international scandal by taking the audience through a series of flashbacks to explain his situation and his insistence that he had been loved by the perfect woman.

“While working for the French embassy in China, Rene fell in love with a Song Liling, the dazzling performer in the Peking Opera's presentation of Madame Butterfly. For more than twenty years, they carried on a passionate love affair during which time the performer stole secrets on behalf of the Chinese communist party.”

The play does contain a major twist and bends some gender identification values. That twist of fate causes Gallimard to search for the ugly truth that evaded him and discovers that he must face all the psychological torment he failed to see previously. Harsh reality awaits him. To find out the sinister situations, come experience the play in person.

“It's important to grow and stretch, to be brave as artists. I am always proud of the work we do at MET, and that everyone does all over town really, but I think this play and these performances are going to turn out to be something special. Really. I hope you'll come and share it with us. Your presence will make it complete,” Paisley said.

Performances run Jan 9-11, 15-18, 22-25 at 7:30p.m. Sunday performances on Jan.12, 19, and 26 begin at 2p.m.

Besides the two leads of Brand and Tran, M. Butterfly includes, Bob Paisley, Amy Kelly, Alan Tilson, Nancy Nail, Erika Crane Ricketts, Chelsea Anglemeyer, Ai Vy Bui, Eric Palmquist, and Sean Yeung.

“ For opening weekend only, I've asked the box office to create an artist special for the whole weekend so that artists can afford to see the show if dollars are tight. So artists--your tickets this weekend are only $15--all weekend. And, you can book them in advance. Let's welcome this beautiful play and these courageous people to the stage,” Paisley said.

For tickets, visit the website metkc.org or call the box office at 816.569.3226. Tickets are $15 (artists only opening weekend), $25, $27, or $30 depending on the date.

“Please come join us to share this extraordinary experience,” Paisley concluded.

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