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Love, grief and artificial intelligence collide in Solo Date, a Taiwanese one-man play making its U.S. debut this summer at the San Francisco International Arts Festival.

Written and performed by Pao-Chang Tsai, Solo Date tells the story of an international businessman from Taiwan, Ho-Nien, whose long-time lover, Alan, is killed in an air crash. Ho-Nien’s grief leads him to attempt to reunite with Alan, first through an ancient Taoist ritual and then utilizing artificial intelligence. The journey Ho-Nien takes through the virtual underworld changes his perception of reality and uncovers past secrets that could diminish his potential reunion with Alan.

Solo Date poses the profound question, “Is this quest for love a surreal duet, or a solitary monologue?” With themes of loneliness, death, artificial intelligence and longing, it also moves audiences to think about online privacy, the ethics of bringing someone back to life through digital means and how we as humans process loss. 

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Solo Date premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. It is the first one-man production created by Pao-Chang Tsai, co-artistic director at the theatre company The Tainaner Ensemble in Taiwan. Tsai is a graduate of the department of drama and theatre at National Taiwan University and has a master’s in music theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. With The Tainaner Ensemble, Tsai has helped to cultivate new acting and playwriting talent in Taiwan.

San Francisco International Arts Festival Director Andrew Wood said of the performance: “Solo Date deals with pressing issues that speak very much to multiple Bay Area audiences. It questions the ethical and moral choices that confront designers in the tech industry as the lines between virtual personas and real people become ever more blurred.”

Solo Date is performed in three languages (English, French and Mandarin) with live super-title translations. It will show three times during the festival: Thursday May 31 at 8:30pm, Friday June 1 at 7:00pm and Saturday June 2 at 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased on the 2018 San Francisco International Arts Festival website.

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