Because it’s so AWESOME? (Naturally.) Or because Yellow Face is so different for us, igniting interest, fascination and a galvanized sense of mission fortification? (“I thought I knew what the ‘J’ in Theater J stood for!” quipped Chinese-American cast member Jacob Yew during last night’s post-show discussion, beaming with pride that the play had landed at Theater J: “I guess it stands for Jacob!”)
Or maybe it’s because the author, David Henry Hwang—”the most successful Chinese-American playwright this country has produced” (according to today’s profile of Hwang in The New Yorker)—is coming to town tomorrow to take part in rehearsals, then participate in “A Continuing Talk On Race” (or A.C.T.O.R.) at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V at 5 pm in conversation with DC poet E. Ethelbert Miller and Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) as the Chinese New Year meets up with the launch of Black History Month, before returning to Theater J for the 8 pm preview of Yellow Face and a post-show discussion where Hwang will reflect on the day, on the play, and on how it sets up the issues he’s pursuing in Kung Fu, the new dance show he’s launching Off-Broadway this month? Yeah, I’d say that’s what’s lit a fire of real excitement for audiences; that, and everything else mentioned above. Something’s very alive in this production; a sense of daring; a sense of the new; a sense of urgency for those who’ve been starved for this kind of irreverent conversation on a whole different notion of race.
We also have been the beneficiaries of some great pre-opening feature coverage. So let’s offer a little media round-up before getting to our Student Subscriber Comments!
The Washington Post Express has a great interview with lead actor Stan Kang that came out yesterday.
Last Sunday’s Washington Post’s Art section had a front page double feature on the play as it covers the larger meaning of casting controversies in our still race-conscious age. And the article had a great Side Bar about the history of racial appropriation on stage and screen and on fashion runways and MTV Award broadcasts.
Finally, our director, Natsu Onoda Power, has quite the following in the world of alternative theater and performance art and she’s featured in this interview in Washingtonian Magazine.