Sunday, January 06, 2008
Fact and fiction don't bother me -- do what you have to do to tell the story -- but why bother going through all the effort if you're going to keep hiding behind a mask? David Henry Hwang's Yellow Face operates right now simply as an intellectual play: Hoon Lee comes on stage, introducing himself as the author, DHH, and then partakes in a compressed and conflated history of "his" (DHH's) rise as preeminent Asian-American theatrical spokesperson that begins with his award for M. Butterfly, travels through his failed farce, Face Value, and ends with his persecution at the hands of [Name Withheld on Advice of Counsel]. Humorous and Sorkin-lite scenes zip us from moment to moment, pausing briefly for HYH's (Francis Jue) fatherly counsel or to reiterate the main plot point: that DHH accidentally cast a white man, Marcus (Noah Bean) as his Asian lead, after protesting Miss Saigon for doing the same thing with Jonathan Pryce. But without David Henry Hwang actually onstage, it's just rhetoric in a sleek, cold framework: Extras without Ricky Gervais, Well without Lisa Kron. The extra dimension of vulnerability isn't there, so while we may think of artistic freedom and our race, we do not feel for it.
[Read on] [Also blogged by: David | Patrick]