This Is America: Truths through My Body

This show is produced irregularly, often in partnership with universities.

Ada began producing this event in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. “Truths through My Body” emphasizes our embodied experiences, i.e., lived truths.

When conceptualizing this show, Ada was thinking about a series of events that had been confronting our individual and collective conscience:

COVID-19 and its disparate impact on Black and Latinx communities;

hate crimes and racist assaults against people of Asian descent and Asian Americans;

the omnipresence of “Karens” and their racist performances of white femininity;

the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless victims of police brutality;

the deadly kneeling bodies of police officers;

the assaults and murders of trans people, particularly Black trans women;

the damaging effects of militarized police forces against protesters and the deployment of military weapons against civilians and journalists;

and the resisting and rebellious bodies and spirits of protesters.

Created and hosted by Ada Cheng.

A protestor stands in front of a federal building holding a handwritten sign that says #STOP ASIAN HATE, relevant to Chicago storyteller Ada Cheng's show This Is America: Truths Told through My Body.
Photo credit: Vivian Rishe

These experiences speak to violence as well as resistance inscribed on our bodies. Most importantly, they contest the myth of a cohesive American identity.

A raised fist, symbolizing power and solidarity, relevant to Chicago storyteller Ada Cheng's new work on diversity and violence This Is America: Truths Told through My Body.
Photo credit: Oladimeji Odunsi

Bodies carry identities, memories, emotions, and meanings of power. They are sites of struggle between violence and rebellion and the interplay between control and pleasure.

What are the stories to tell when we focus on the visceral impact on our bodies? And how does the disparate impact tell us about the American identity?

Want to perform in “This Is America”?