Aaron Jan is a Hamilton born Toronto based playwright, director and dramaturg. Aaron is a member of the critically acclaimed Silk Bath Collective out of Toronto, whose production ofYellow Rabbit enjoyed a sold out run at Soulpepper Theatre in 2018. Aaron has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts, Theatre Aquarius, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, and The Musical Stage Company.
As a playwright Aaron seeks to tell the stories of second and third generation Chinese-Canadians that go well beyond that of migration. Aaron has found the pandemic an unexpected period of productivity. “In my practise before everything shut down, I felt that I was running around constantly, overextending myself with mountains of unfinished writing projects that took a backseat to my directing work.” This “time of pause”, as Aaron so eloquently describes it, has allowed him to refocus on writing.
When Aaron reached out to Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel with a proposal for his new play PING!, it was immediately clear that this was a story Lighthouse wanted to be a part of. An epic coming of age, sports comedy about two young women and their journey of competing in a legendary doubles table tennis tournament.
Aaron’s lead character Vicky Kong is a second generation Chinese Canadian from Hamilton. Vicky’s father has been given a terminal diagnosis and she is looking for a way to hold onto him. Determined to win a coveted tennis table trophy this story will explore the pressures of success and failure, shame and pride that are passed down through Chinese generations, especially for those who are growing up as an outsider. Vicky’s journey will see her paired with a rookie teammate and dive into the eccentric world of youth table tennis.
This is Aaron’s first time working with Derek and Lighthouse, the support provided through our Playwright Development program with allow Aaron to work with a number of consultants to help with key character traits and a table tennis professional who will help guide the match strategy for Vicky’ games. The ability to collaborate with consultants is invaluable ensuring honest depictions of characters and environments and a critical step forward to reaching the next draft.
Lighthouse is delighted to support Aaron, and Vicky’s, journey as first drafts turn into final drafts, peer workshops bring each character to life, and the scene of a life changing tennis table tournament is set.