Asian American

Yellow Face by David Hwang

Yellow Face  at the Public Theatre. Photo by Michal Daniel

Yellow Face at the Public Theatre. Photo by Michal Daniel

Inspired by the 1990s Broadway controversy over the “yellow face” casting of Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce as a Eurasian pimp in the musical Miss Saigon, Yellow Face spins a comic fantasy in which Asian American playwright DHH pens a play in protest, then unwittingly casts a white actor as the Asian lead in his own play.

Yellow Face premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2007, directed by Leigh Silverman, then moved to the Public Theater. It won a 2008 Obie Award for Playwriting and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It premiered in London at the Park Theatre in 2013, in a production directed by Alex Sims, which transferred to the National Theatre in 2014.

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Production photos of Yellow Face at the Public Theatre in 2007. Photos by Michal Daniel

Production photos from Yellow Face at the Silk Road Rising. Photos by Michael Brosilow

M. Butterfly by David Hwang

M. Butterfly is inspired by a true story of a French diplomat who carried on a twenty-year affair with a Chinese actor and opera singer, without realizing the true gender of his lover. French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu, a Peking opera singer lived together for decades before Shi Pei Pu was discovered to be a Chinese spy and Boursicot was charged with treason.

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Family Devotions by David Hwang

Actors (L-R) Victor Wong, Jim Ishida, Michael Paul Chan, Helen Funai, Tina Chen, June Kim, Jodi Long, Lauren Tom and Marc Hayashi in a scene from the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of  Family Devotions . Photo by Martha Swope, Courtesy NYPL.

Actors (L-R) Victor Wong, Jim Ishida, Michael Paul Chan, Helen Funai, Tina Chen, June Kim, Jodi Long, Lauren Tom and Marc Hayashi in a scene from the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Family Devotions. Photo by Martha Swope, Courtesy NYPL.

Family Devotions depicts a clash of West and East among three generations of an Americanized Chinese family in a Los Angeles suburb. Ama and Popo, two elderly and devoutly Christian Chinese sisters, live with their Americanized children in Bel Air. Their grandchildren Jenny and Chester seek to escape superficial world of their parents. The whole family eagerly awaits a visit from Di-Gou, the brother whom the sisters have not seen in over thirty years. When he arrives, it is clear he is not the man his sisters remember.

Family Devotions premiered at the Public Theater in 1981, directed by Robert Alan Ackerman. It received a 1982 Drama Desk Nomination for Best New Play.

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