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Jovanni Sy is a playwright, director, actor, and the artistic director of Gateway Theatre in Richmond, British Columbia. In 2010, Sy wrote and performed A Taste of Empire which was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play. It was subsequently remounted by Vancouver’s Boca del Lupo Theatre. A Cantonese version of A Taste of Empire was translated and performed by Derek Chan (with Sy directing) in 2016.
Other writing credits include The Five Vengeances, a comic kung-fu adapation of The Revenger’s Tragedy and the libretti to the chamber operas Haiku Moments and The Cellar Door. Sy is currently developing the play Nine Dragons, a detective story set in 1920s colonial Hong Kong.
Sy’s directing credits include God of Carnage, Antigone, and Blackbird (Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong), and Closer Than Ever, Valley Song, and Harvest (Gateway Theatre). In June 2015, he directed Clifford Cardinal’s award-winning play Stitch for Native Earth Performance Arts.
As an actor, Jovanni has performed with theatre companies across Canada and overseas.
April 2018 : “This play is dangerously cool.”
QUOTES OF NOTENine Dragons
“A smart exploration of colonialism, racism, assimilation, and the clash of cultures”
—Joff Schmidt, CBC
“A whip-smart policier”
—Stephen Hunt, Globe & Mail
“Jovanni Sy drops us into a seedy, colonial Kowloon where race, desire, and power collide. It’s classic noir: murder, mystery, thwarted ambitions, one good detective, and one rotten town. Stylish and smart, Nine Dragons is a multi-layered pleasure.”
—Guillermo Verdecchia, Governor General’s Award for Drama recipient
“A theatrical experience wrought with tension and sensitivity, intrigue and humanity. Nine Dragons is a familiar kind of far away, a past whose persistence informs our present-day ‘post-colonial’ reality. This play is dangerously cool.”
—Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, artistic director, New Harlem Productions
QUOTES OF NOTEA Taste of Empire
“A Taste of Empire is a great success.”
—Globe and Mail
“Funny, fishy and far-reaching, A Taste of Empire is fascinating international fare. … It’s one of the most expansive evenings of Canadian theatre in terms of geographical and political scope. … A Taste of Empire is largely about looking beneath the surface of things … The extent to which Jovanni Sy’s A Taste of Empire has anti-racist underpinnings is one of the fascinating aspects of the piece – clowning as a socially acceptable alternative to anger.”
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.