Adopted from China in 1996 and raised by a single mother, Julia Gay grew up shaped by an interconnected web of maternal guidance, love, and loss. Through poetry, memoir, and movement, she honors the women in her life. Join Julia as she journeys from China to the US and, at last, rediscovers her motherland.
Sound design and score composition by Eric M. C. Gonzalez. Lighting design by Mike Wangen.
Motherlanded premiered at Pangea World Theater in May 2016 as part of the Lake Street Arts! Emerging Artist Showcase, with the support and guidance of Director/Dramaturg Sun Mee Chomet and Mentor/Advisor Harry Waters Jr. Julia remounted and expanded her show as a part of Dreamland Arts’ Theaterwalla program in October 2019.
Text Credit: The show includes text and information from “INFORMATION PACKET: The Adoption of Chinese Girls by American Families,” prepared by Allison Hurwitz, MSW student, Hunter College School of Social Work.
Sound Credits: “Pick-A-Little Talk-A-Little” by Meredith Wilson, from The Music Man (1962) “Baby Beluga” by Raffi Cavoukian, Debi Pike, from Baby Beluga (1980) “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” by M. James, Jay-Z, Charles Strouse, from Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998) Tibetan Dance "Pastorale" by Secret Garden, from Songs From a Secret Garden (1995) “Party” by Jeff Bhasker, Douglas Davis, Beyoncé Knowles, Dexter R. Mills, Ricky Walters, from Party (2011) Chinese restaurant music “Not Your Barbie Girl” by Ava Max from Not Your Barbie Girl (2018) “The Wandering Girl Singer” by 周璇 from The Golden Voice Of Zhou Xuan Vol. 1 (1993) “Xiang” by Howie Lee from Mù Chè Shān Chū (2015) “Babylon of the Occident - Instrumental” by The Shanghai Restoration Project from Instrumentals (2008) “Chinese Talk” by Lim Giong from Insects Awaken “但願人長久” by Faye Wong from K2HD 菲蘼蘼之音 “南海姑娘” by Teresa Teng from 鄧麗君15週年但願人長久 “你怎能瞞過我” by Betty Chung from Bang Bang “在那遥远的地方” by 黄婉婷 from 达坂城的姑娘 “Chinese Recess” by Abigail Washburn, The Shanghai Restoration Project from Afterquake “Clay Doll (Ni Wa Wa)” by The Shanghai Restoration Project from Clay Doll (Ni Wa Wa)
photo by Isabel Fajardo Photography
"Thank you brave Julia Gay, who bares her soul so that all of us can get one step closer to truth, to healing. She tells her story of being adopted from China in the late 1990s with such poetic poignancy that takes me on a journey of love, loss, dream, and understanding. I'm so grateful to be invited to witness, to be vulnerable, and to grow."
– Hui Wilcox, dancer, associate professor”
"After spending one hour in the presence of Julia Gay, the first word that comes to mind to describe her is 'lovely,' but that word, apt as it is, overly homogenizes her multiple talents. Her solo show, Motherlanded, depicts her journey as a child born in China, adopted out of an orphanage at two years of age by a white American woman who became her life-long Mom. The show goes on to reveal Ms. Gay's childhood in Ohio, her adolescence, her young adulthood and full flowering into a woman who is intelligent, courageous, angry, loving, curious, creative and beautiful. Those same words can be used to describe this stunning, auto-biographical theater work..."
– Arthur Dorman of Talkin' Broadway
"A 'love letter to Chinese adoptees': Motherlanded is a moving and thought-provoking show, which will not only leave you teary-eyed, but also with new perspectives and questions."
– Sammie Stever-Zeitlin of The Southerner
photos by Isabel Fajardo Photography
Julia would love to continue sharing her story with adoptee communities both at home and abroad. Interested in bringing Motherlanded to a stage near you?