THE STORY: The lines between truth and fiction blur with hilarious and moving results in David Henry Hwang’s unreliable memoir. Asian-American playwright DHH, fresh off his Tony Award win for M. Butterfly, leads a protest against the casting of Jonathan Pryce as the Eurasian pimp in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon, condemning the practice as “yellowface.” His position soon comes back to haunt him when he mistakes a Caucasian actor, Marcus G. Dahlman, for mixed-race, and casts him in the lead Asian role of his own Broadway-bound comedy, Face Value. When DHH discovers the truth of Marcus’ ethnicity, he tries to conceal his blunder to protect his reputation as an Asian-American role model, by passing the actor off as a “Siberian Jew.” Meanwhile, DHH’s father, Henry Y. Hwang, an immigrant who loves the American Dream and Frank Sinatra, finds himself ensnared in the same web of late-1990's anti-Chinese paranoia that also leads to the “Donorgate” scandal and the arrest of Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. As he clings to his old multicultural rhetoric, this new racist witch hunt forces DHH to confront the complex and ever-changing role that “face” plays in American life today.
“YELLOW FACE is that rarity in theater, a pungent play of ideas with a big heart. Picaresque tale brings to the national discussion about race three much-needed commodities: a sense of humor a mile wide, an even-handed treatment and a hopeful, healing vision of a world that could be.” —Variety.
“The most invigorating American play I’ve encountered in many a month. Easily his finest play since M. Butterfly
. The beauty of YELLOW FACE is anything but skin deep.” —The Guardian (UK).
“One of the Year’s Ten Best. This farcical faux documentary investigates racial and cultural authenticity in a play that knows when irony must give way to sincerity, and vice versa.” —Los Angeles Times.
“Fabulously inventive. Hwang offers hard-won lessons about leading a public life with personal integrity.” —The New Yorker.
“Smart and delightful. A Chinese box of deceptive amusements and crushing beauty.” —Newsday (NY).
“YELLOW FACE triumphs as a laugh-out-loud comedy, and an unexpectedly poignant odyssey of self-discovery.” —New York Sun.
“Charming, touching and cunningly organized as well as funny. A mordant, reflective comedy that works not only as a personal summation but as a pattern for us all as we pick our cautious way through the thicket of claims and counterclaims that marks America’s transactions with its minorities.” —Village Voice.
“Brave and engrossing. Part autobiography, part documentary, part self-parody, part protest play, YELLOW FACE is funny and startling and moving.” —Philadelphia Inquirer.