Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 2990 times since Wed Aug 17, 2011
facebook twitter 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.


This article shared 2990 times since Wed Aug 17, 2011
facebook twitter 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

Gay News

DANCE Deeply Rooted named to INFLUENCERS Cohort 2021-07-24
- Chicago's Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is one of five dance companies (and the only Midwestern one) named to the International Association of Blacks in Dance's (IABD's) INFLUENCERS Cohort for the 2021 COHI/MOVE program. The five ...


Gay News

Ravinia to unveil 'Bernstein's Answer' immersive theater experience 2021-07-23
--From a press release - HIGHLAND PARK, IL—On Saturday, August 7, the Ravinia Festival and Jeffrey P. Haydon, its President and CEO, will officially unveil the Ravinia Music Box (RMB) and its immersive theater experience, titled Bernstein's Answer, and fully open ...


Gay News

THEATER 2nd Story announces first half of 2021-22 season 2021-07-22
- One of Chicago's longest-running storytelling collectives, 2nd Story, announced the first half of its 23rd season of programming for 2021-22. The season will feature nearly 30 world-premiere stories and storyteller debuts, as well as 20 of ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf announces co-artistic directors 2021-07-22
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced a new model of leadership, naming ensemble members Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis as the incoming artistic directors of the storied Chicago company. The new appointment ...


Gay News

PERFORMANCE Gay performer Michael Cunio part of 'Teatro ZinZanni' 2021-07-17
- Teatro ZinZanni Chicago carved out its own niche on the 14th floor of Cambria Hotel back in 2019, with the premiere of Love, Chaos, & Dinner. Blending dinner with a show under the big top in a Belgium mirror tent called ...


Gay News

Suburban theater employees leave over perceived anti-LGBTQ policy 2021-07-17
- At least two employees of a Christian-oriented suburban theater company—Sophie Murk and Will Higgins—have resigned in recent weeks, citing its policy toward LGBTQ+ students, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The exits ...


Gay News

The Actors Gymnasium to hold community circus, celebrate 25th year 2021-07-16
--From a press release - Evanston, IL, July 15, 2021 — Actors Gym is proud to announce Summer Salon 2021, an evening of circus under the stars in Tallmadge Park to celebrate the organization's 25th year. It will be a family-friendly ...


Gay News

THEATER Chicago ensemble presenting play on bisexuality 2021-07-15
- The Trance, a Chicago-based theater ensemble, returns to the stage with Riding the Bicycle. It will be performed at The Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway, on Friday-Saturday, July 30-31, at 8 p.m. According to an email ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater to hold series of virtual Town Hall forums 2021-07-14
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, will hold a series of Town Halls to introduce Ken-Matt to the VG community and share news ...


Gay News

Goodman Theatre reopens with School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play 2021-07-12
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) School is back in session! Goodman Theatre returns to the stage with the Chicago-premiere production of the Off-Broadway smash sensation, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Full casting is below. Written by ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre announces 2021-22 season 2021-07-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO (July 12, 2021) — Raven Theatre is pleased to welcome back live audiences with the announcement of its 2021-22 season, featuring three productions previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new season also marks ...


Gay News

American Blues to present 'The Great American (and French) Songbook' 2021-07-12
- On Friday, July 16, American Blues Theater, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, will present The Great American (and French) Songbook, performed by Suzy Petri and guests as part of its music series ...


Gay News

THEATER Playhouse, renowned chef to present 'Recipe for Disaster' Oct. 6 2021-07-09
- James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless and Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein announced they will present "A Recipe for Disaster" a farcical experience set in the world of restaurants starting Oct. 6. Bayless, Rubenstein ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Hedwig,' Oscars, Demi Lovato, GLAAD, Stevie Nicks 2021-07-04
- Following 2019's sold-out, three-night engagement at The Town Hall in New York City (and several postponements in 2020), Hedwig and the Angry Inch co-creators John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask are returning with a rock spectacle ...


Gay News

THEATER Goodman's 'I Hate It Here' to stream July 15-18 2021-07-02
- Goodman Theatre's streaming-in-real-time Live series will conclude with I Hate It Here, written by Ike Holter and directed by Lili-Anne Brown. I Hate It Here appears July 15, at 7:30 p.m.; July 16, at 7:30 p.m.; ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

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.