by David Henry Hwang
November 6 - 22, 2015
The lines between truth and fiction blur with hilarious and moving results in David Henry Hwang's unreliable memoir. Asian American playwright DHH, 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 "yellow face." His position comes back to haunt him when he mistakes 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.
Photography by Susannah Smitherman