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Yellow Face

Yellow Face
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: David Henry Hwang
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 72
Pub. Date: 2009
ISBN-10: 0822223015
ISBN-13: 9780822223016
Cast Size: 2 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Winner of the 2008 OBIE Award

Yellow Face is a full-length drama by David Henry Hwang. Truth and fiction blur in Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang's hilarious and moving show, which is based on the author's own life. When Hwang unwittingly casts a white actor as the Asian lead, he quickly gets in over his head. As the situation spirals further out of control, he finds himself at the center of a government intrigue and investigation. Yellow Face is a probing, political satire on racial identity and multiculturalism, by one of America's leading playwrights.

Yellow Face is a full-throttle comic attack on bigotry and the American theater. The lines between truth and fiction blur with hilarious and moving results in David Henry Hwang's semi-autobiographical memoir. Asian-American playwright DHH (who shares the author's initials and profession), fresh off his Tony Award win for M. Butterfly, leads a protest against the casting of Jonathan Pryce as the Eurasian pimp in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon, condemning the practice as "yellowface." His position soon comes back to haunt him when he mistakes a Caucasian actor, Marcus G. Dahlman, for mixed-race, and casts him in the lead Asian role of his own Broadway-bound comedy, Face Value. When DHH discovers the truth of Marcus' ethnicity, he tries to conceal his blunder to protect his reputation as an Asian-American role model, by passing the actor off as a "Siberian Jew." Meanwhile, DHH's father, Henry Y. Hwang, an immigrant who loves the American Dream and Frank Sinatra, finds himself ensnared in the same web of late-1990's anti-Chinese paranoia that also leads to the "Donorgate" scandal and the arrest of Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. As he clings to his old multicultural rhetoric, this new racist witch hunt forces DHH to confront the complex and ever-changing role that "face" plays in American life today.

Yellow Face premiered in 2007 at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and then opened at New York's Public Theater. David Henry Hwang won his third Obie Award in Playwriting and he was a third-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Cast: 2 female, 5 male

What people say:

"Yellow Face is that rarity in theater, a pungent play of ideas with a big heart. Picaresque tale brings to the national discussion about race three much-needed commodities: a sense of humor a mile wide, an even-handed treatment and a hopeful, healing vision of a world that could be." — Variety

"The most invigorating American play I've encountered in many a month. Easily his finest play since M. Butterfly. The beauty of Yellow Face is anything but skin deep." — The Guardian (London)

"One of the Year's Ten Best. This farcical faux documentary investigates racial and cultural authenticity in a play that knows when irony must give way to sincerity, and vice versa." — Los Angeles Times

"Fabulously inventive. Hwang offers hard-won lessons about leading a public life with personal integrity." — The New Yorker

"Smart and delightful. A Chinese box of deceptive amusements and crushing beauty." — New York Newsday

" Yellow Face triumphs as a laugh-out-loud comedy, and an unexpectedly poignant odyssey of self-discovery." — New York Sun

"Charming, touching and cunningly organized as well as funny. A mordant, reflective comedy that works not only as a personal summation but as a pattern for us all as we pick our cautious way through the thicket of claims and counterclaims that marks America's transactions with its minorities." — Village Voice

"Brave and engrossing. Part autobiography, part documentary, part self-parody, part protest play, Yellow Face is funny and startling and moving." — Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Playwright:

David Henry Hwang is a Chinese American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter, described by The New York Times as "a true original" and by TIME magazine as "the first important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller." Throughout his career, he has explored the complexities of forging Eastern and Western cultures in a contemporary America. His extraordinary body of work, over the past 30 years, has been marked by a deep desire to reaffirm the common humanity in all of us. He is best known as the author of M. Butterfly, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was also a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, he won the $200,000 US Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the richest theatre prize in the U.S.

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