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Straight White Men

Straight White Men
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Young Jean Lee
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 76
Pub. Date: 2017
ISBN-10: 082223596X
ISBN-13: 9780822235965
Cast Size: 4 male

About the Play:

Straight White Men has become a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues and Male/Male Scenes.

Straight White Men is a full-length dark comedy by Young Jean Lee. When three adult brothers gather at their father's home to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can't solve: When identity matters, and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man? With hypocrisy and humour, Straight White Men explores what to do with white male privilege, and who is to blame for it.

Straight White Men explores the meaning of privilege and identity in 21st century America. Set in a middle-class family home during the holidays, as Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered. But when a question they can't answer interrupts their seasonal cheer, brotherly pranks and trash-talk distract them from a problem that that even being a happy family can't solve: When identity matters, and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man? Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father and son play narrative, shedding new and often hilarious light on a story we think we know all too well. Straight White Men is a hilarious and provocative exploration of identity politics, white male privilege and liberal guilt. This is one white Christmas like you've never seen before.

Straight White Men premiered in 2014 at The Public Theater off-Broadway in New York City. It had its UK premiere in 2021 at Southwark Playhouse in London, following US productions including a Broadway run at The Hayes Theater in 2018 that made Young Jean Lee the first Asian-American female to have a play produced on Broadway. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional theatre productions.

Cast: 4 male

What people say:

"The signal surprise of Straight White Men, written by the ever-audacious Young Jean Lee, is that the play is not a full-frontal assault on the beings of the title…Ms. Lee's fascinating play goes far beyond cheap satire, ultimately becoming a compassionate and stimulating exploration of one man's existential crisis. Believe it or not, Ms. Lee wants us to sympathize with the inexpressible anguish of her protagonist, a middle-aged, upper-middle-class straight white man…[A] mournful and inquisitive play…." — The New York Times

"A prime example of dramaturgical normcore – that is, experimental plays dressing up like fourth-wall family dramas – [Straight White Men] tickles your soft aesthetic underbelly, before easing in the knife of reality…If Lee wants to dissect the conscience of our society's most visible and powerful population, what better mode than living-room realism, sadly, our default theatrical setting? …However, if you expect deconstruction-prone Lee to break down this form through surreal flourishes or screwing with the frame, you may be surprised. Most shocking is the absence of shock. She's too good a writer for the drama not to work on its own terms, and as such, the result is both emotionally satisfying… and unflinching in its critique of white-driven social justice." — Time Out NY

"To cut to the obvious, Straight White Men is a loaded title… But the play turns out to have a disarming gentleness to it. Lee has more sympathy for her subject than scorn… White Men is a family drama that on the surface looks fairly standard, but the play transcends psychological realism. Lee is wrestling with the meaning of straight white male privilege through characters who are self-conscious beneficiaries of an identity increasingly out of favor in 21st century America yet still, like it or not, in control." — Los Angeles Times

About the Playwright:

Young Jean Lee is a Korean-born, New York-based writer, director, and filmmaker who has been called "the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation" by the New York Times and "one of the best experimental playwrights in America" by Time Out New York. She has written and directed many shows in New York as the artistic director of her nonprofit Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, and toured her work to over 30 cities globally.