Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-02-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Family Devotions
THEATER REVIEW
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2011-08-17

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: David Henry Hwang. At: Halcyon Theatre at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Phone: 773-404-7336;$10-$25. Runs through: Sept. 4

David Henry Hwang wasn't always the world-famous playwright he is today. In the early 1980s, he was merely another disenfranchised Asian-American author writing about—well, being Asian-American. In this 1981 portrait—dedicated to, among others, Sam Shepard—he looks at three generations of a Chinese family now living comfortably in Los Angeles during the second half of the 20th century.

It's not a pretty picture. Ama and Popo, the clan's native Chinese matriarchs, have mythologized their memories of the Japanese occupation in World War II and the subsequent Communist revolution to emerge as stubbornly unreconstructed as a pair of Dixie-bred dowagers. Joanne and Hannah, their respective daughters, have both married beneath their station—one husband is (gasp!) second-generation Japanese-American and the other, an immigrant from ("Shhh! Neighbors will hear!") the port city of Shanghai. The grandchildren, musician Chester and would-be dancer Jenny, yearn to escape the tribal tensions exacerbated by the grannies' Christian convictions, acquired in girlhood from a revivalist missionary. Ah, but today, a visitor from the People's Republic of China is coming to dinner—and, with him, the truth behind the legends.

The value of truth is a fundamentally western concept, restricted to citizens of privilege sufficient to protect them, should their "truth" prove embarrassing to governments exercising absolute power. Chinese parents are more inclined to indoctrinate their offspring in the wisdom of denying inconvenient "truths" and adherence to the zeitgeist of the moment. Thus, when the elderly uncle arrives, he promptly finds himself implored by his sisters to distort his experience in conformity to theirs—even to having an amen-snorting exorcism inflicted upon him when he refuses—while nephew-in-law Robert expounds on the virtues of a democracy where even a vulgar nobody like himself can suffer crimes usually reserved for VIPs. Is it any wonder that Chester warns their bewildered guest to flee before he's brainwashed by the culture that invented that term?

All this would be inexorably depressing if taken seriously, but Halcyon Theatre director Jenn Adams has prudently chosen to pace her production at a speed emphasizing the humor of newly affluent SoCal dwellers struggling with fashionable cuisinarts, microwaves and automatic grillers. The cast is uniformly excellent, fearlessly immersing themselves in personalities nowadays largely relegated to ethnic stereotype. Special mention, however, is due the courageous Mia Park, whose intractable Ama is a saber-toothed Tiger Mom dispensing policy as draconian as that of the totalitarian states she now purports to deplore.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

THEATER REVIEW How I Learned to Drive 2019-02-19
THEATER REVIEW Dear Evan Hansen 2019-02-19
THEATER REVIEW The Total Bent 2019-02-15
THEATER REVIEW Fulfillment Center 2019-02-13
Nederlander Theatre lights marquee 2019-02-13
The Jeff Awards to present panel on Latinx Theater 2019-02-12
SPOTLIGHT on Underscore Theatre's Chicago Musical Theatre Festival 2019-02-12
Critics' Picks 2019-02-12
THEATER REVIEW A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2019-02-12
THEATER REVIEW Pipeline 2019-02-12
Afterglow opening at Pride Arts Center March 27 2019-02-09
Pride Films and Plays offers Buyer & Cellar, comedy of life in Streisand's basement 2019-02-09
Chicago Theatre Week February 7 - 17 2019-02-08
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2019-02-07
'Evan Hansen' digital lottery announced 2019-02-07
Mayoral arts forum Feb. 10 at Broadway 2019-02-06
Chicago Theatre Week Feb. 7-17 2019-02-06
Raven Theatre Announces 2019-20 Season 2019-02-05
THEATER REVIEW Nina Simone: Four Women 2019-02-05
THEATER REVIEW How to Catch Creation 2019-02-03
All That He Was benefit concert March 11 at Pride Arts Center 2019-01-31
Hamilton, The Exhibition tickets on sale 2019-01-31
Mike Pence Sex Dream on stage Feb. 16 through March 16 2019-01-31
OUTspoken! LGBTQ storyteller series at Sidetrack Feb. 5 2019-01-30
WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Ten dramas to see this winter 2019-01-30
WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Intriguing shows to see this winter 2019-01-30
THEATER REVIEW Red Rex 2019-01-30
WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Genre-defying works dot theater landscape 2019-01-29
WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Up close and personal: Intimacy design in February productions 2019-01-29
THEATER REVIEW In the Blood 2019-01-29
THEATER SPOTLIGHT 2019-01-29
Critics' Picks 2019-01-29
THEATER REVIEW Photograph 51 2019-01-29
THEATER REVIEW Fuente Ovejuna 2019-01-29
'The Total Bent' Feb. 7-March 10 2019-01-29
Chicagoland Theatres raise over $300,000 to support Season of Concern 2019-01-24
THEATER REVIEW Big Science 2019-01-23
THEATER REVIEW Cardboard Piano 2019-01-22
THEATER REVIEW Between Riverside and Crazy 2019-01-22
THEATER REVIEW Evil Dead The Musical 2019-01-22
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.