Charles Francis Chan Jr.'s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery
THE STORY: Frank (born Charles Francis Chan) is a Berkeley student during the height of the Vietnam War, an aspiring playwright, and a proud Asian American. The son of a famous minstrel performer, Frank has a revolutionary plan to reclaim his identity from decades of “Oriental” humor and build a new cultural tradition: He’s going to write a play. Not just any play, but a murder mystery featuring the fictional Hawai’ian detective Charlie Chan. The victim at the center of Frank’s murder mystery is Earl Biggers, the early-20th-century novelist who created the stereotypically inscrutable Detective Chan. CHARLES FRANCIS CHAN JR.’S EXOTIC ORIENTAL MURDER MYSTERY shifts between the worlds of enigmatic fortune-cookie aphorisms and desperate draft dodgers as one man tries to single-handedly overturn generations of Asian American alienation.
“‘Ah. So.’ You’d be surprised just how much hilarity and invective the playwright Lloyd Suh can work out of those two tiny syllables. They are among the stock sayings of Charlie Chan…whose legacy Mr. Suh inspects and implodes in the very messy, very funny, very angry CHARLES FRANCIS CHAN JR.’S EXOTIC ORIENTAL MURDER MYSTERY…” —NY Times. “[Suh]…achieves the ambitious goal of presenting heavy political issues in an altogether delightful and personal manner. Its hard-hitting political incorrectness seems the completely correct course for political theater to take…” —Theasy.com.