Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage presents Njo Kong Kie’s “I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron” May 16-26

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Former long-serving musical director of La La La Human Steps, composer and creator of music-theatreworks Picnic in the Cemetery and Mr. Shi and His Lover (voted Best New Musical by the Toronto Theatre Critics Association), Njo Kong Kie, returns to Canadian Stage with a spellbinding solo performance that sets to music the haunting work of factory worker turned famed Chinese poet, Xu Lizhi. A powerful musical experience that combines visual elements and Xu’s compelling, and often gut-wrenching poetry, I Swallowed A Moon Made of Iron is on stage at the Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre, May 16-26, 2019.

Xu’s poetry gained worldwide attention after the 24-year-old migrant worker committed suicide (one of many employees who committed suicide between 2010-2014 at the Shenzhen plant of the electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn). With straightforward language, poetic sensibility and vivid imagination, Xu’s poems provide a glimpse into factory life and give a voice to the millions of forgotten migrant workers around the globe. His poems – which he wrote over a four-year period – speak to his working conditions, homesickness, the passing of youth, lack of hope and purpose, exhaustion from the punishing work, and of his physical and emotional pains.

“We could not be more excited to be welcoming back Njo Kong Kie to our stage, says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “The combination of his extraordinary music with the haunting poetryof Xu Lizhi makes for a moving work that raises our consciousness to the plight of countless men and women. This is a necessary and vital work and Canadian Stage is proud to present its premiere.”

I Swallowed A Moon Made of Iron, not only sheds light on Xu’s poems and experiences, but it also considers how our desire and need for daily comforts impacts the lives of the countless unseen, unheard and forgotten people who manufacture them.

“As we are conditioned to live an increasingly expedient lifestyle, somebody has to work harder and faster to make it happen and while I cannot physically feel the pain Xu endured in his work, I can feel the despair he experienced in his life,” says Njo Kong Kie. “The human conditions Xu insightfully described deeply resonate with me and I hope this work will play a small part in helping us remember Xu Lizhi and the millions of others whose struggles provide the digital amenities for our modern day lives.”

I Swallowed A Moon Made of Iron is on stage at the Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre, May 16-26.Performances run Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Wednesday at 1 PM, Fridays at 7 PM, andSundays at 2 PM.

For tickets phone 416-368-3110 or visit