The Madness of the Square

Written by:

Marjorie Chan

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Person/People of Colour

Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 5
  • Women: 4


Asian Canadian Theatre




90 min.

Year Written:



Noodles, romance and exams are the main concerns of four young friends until they find themselves caught up in the 1989 student demonstrations of Tiananmen Square. The unfolding events test their beliefs, resolve and ultimately friendship in The Madness of the Square.


Friends, all attending the Engineering Program at Qinghua University, in Beijing.

FAN-YING: female, early 20s, mediocre student, sweet and sincere, 1st year

SHEN: male, early 20s, strong student, has arrogance of youth, 2nd year also plays CHORUS, SOLDIER

SUN-YI: female, mid-20s, Fan-Ying’s roommate, top of her class, 3rd year, also plays CHORUS

DING-DING: male, early 20s, wealthy friend of Shen’s, terrible student, 1st year. also plays CHORUS

Other people in the Square.

CATHERINE: female, early 20s, intern reporter at BBC World Service also plays CHORUS, WAITRESS

WONG: male, mid-20s, Student leader, 4th year from Beijing University, also plays CHORUS, DING-DING’S FATHER

Additionally there is the pre-recorded voice of the OFFICIAL. All cast members except Fan-Ying constitute the CHORUS which can be supplemented with additional cast members as desired but not replaced.

First Produced:

2009, Toronto ON, Cahoots Theatre in association with Factory Theatre


The Madness of the Square is available through the Canadian Play Outlet.

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The youthful optimism of the thousands who filled Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, asking for freedom and justice, is palpable in Marjorie Chan’s The Madness Of The Square.” – Jon Kaplan, Now Magazine