THE STORY: Bradley Yamashita is one of the new breed of Asian-American actors. Highly political and outspoken, he will only take on acting roles that are dignified and unstereotypic. He has recently starred in a small independent film that is the darling of the art crowd, and he arrives in Hollywood full of himself and his politics. Vincent Chang is a survivor. He cut his teeth on the old “Chop Suey” circuit as a hoofer and went on to star in feature films, even garnering an Oscar nomination in the 1950s. Now, though still regal and debonair, Vincent is forced into taking often stereotypic and undignified roles. Through a series of quick-moving scenes, we follow the two men as they meet, form a tenuous friendship, and together do battle amidst the often humorous and at times ruthless backdrop of the Hollywood film world. While maintaining the portrayal of integrity as all important, Bradley must face the reality of the same lack of work for Asian actors as Vincent faced in the early days of film. Vincent also teaches Bradley the dignity of survival as he learns to take on more of the cultural responsibility Bradley wishes him to accept.
Opening to critical acclaim at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, this poignant and humorous play centers on the dilemma of working to survive versus compromising one’s dignity. “Mr. Gotanda is a polemicist who sees both sides of a question, a writer whose grievances are balanced by a wicked sense of humor…” —NY Times. “…beautifully framed and passionately focused…” —San Francisco Examiner. “…it’s entertainment with both heart and soul…The play works beautifully on several levels at once…” —East Bay Express.