Asian American Plays, by Author (C-E)
- Anak Ti Diablo (Bindlestiff Studios, 2005)
An Ilocano term for Children of the Devil, Anak Ti Diablo is loosely adapted from Plautus‚ Haunted House. Set in modern day Daly City, the play focuses on the members of Anak ti Diablo, a Pilipino-American punk rock band who gets entangled with a notorious leg breaking loan shark, an absurdly pious Catholic mother, a barrio fiesta beauty pageant wannabe and an ex-thief turned exorcism expert. The play’s action is energized when the characters break into thrash metal riffs and sweet Rondalla tunes to exorcise the ghosts of the past and summon the spirits of colonial history. In the end everyone rocks out. Cast includes Rose Almario, Pio Candelaria, Eric Fructuoso, Werner Goff, Jo-ill Merc! han, Jaime Nallas, Francis Novero, Jose Saenz and Golda ŒSupanova‚ Sargento. Music by Golda Supanova and Ogie Gonzales and set design by Dino Ignacio, Nina de Torres and Gwen Torres.
- Jersey Stories (2001 A Spotlight on Festival Odyssey)
an engaging evening full of characters, whom we come to care about as they struggle to define themselves.”
- The Green Dragon: A Modern Myth (A Spotlight On Festival, 2002)
When the Green Dragon destroys the beloved Castle on the hill, the man with the white stripe in his hair loses his family and goes on a quest to slay the dragon. The story, told through monologues by the members of the community, is a story of loss, grief, anger, and redemption.
- The 4 AM ‘Lizbeth (Chuchipinoy Productions, 2002)
THE 4 AM ‘LIZBETH is a tribute to the city of Elizabeth, NJ, the author’s hometown. Jerry, Jay, and Eddie, three lifelong friends, come of age as they hang out on an abandoned railroad track supposedly haunted by the ghost train known as ‘The 4 am ‘lizbeth’. A play about the common man’s hopes and dreams in small city America, these three men come to terms with the breaks life has given them.
- The Magnificent Mr. Vincent (Chuchipinoy Productions, 2005)
A play about being twenty-something in America in the beginning of the new century. It follows the story of Sam, the idealistic lead singer-songwriter for the college garage band, The Pedestrians, as he tries to find a place in society that he can live with.
Calos-Nakano, Nancy & Decaney, Maria
- Please Choose One (NWAAT, 1994)
Original one act on multi-racial Asian Americans
- Everything but the Paper (Pratidhwani, 2014)
Ketan and Rupal are separated and no one is more determined to re-unite them than aunt Kusum. Her daughter Supriya doesn’t think Kusum’s forty-two years of marriage makes her an expert, but with two divorces and trouble in her relationship with Pavel, how much does Supriya know about relationships? Everything But The Paper – a comedy in English explores the ideas of who should be together, who should be apart, and what does marriage and divorce mean to this contemporary Indian family?
- Family Lies (Mu Performing Arts, 2006)
Family Lies is a subversive new Asian-American comedy farcically inspired by the hit 80’s sitcom Family Ties.
- Sleepwalk (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- judy-ex (EWP, 2000)
- Age Sex Location (Kumu Kahua, 2005)
four generations of a local family confront the complexities and perils of cyberspace. When a computer is brought home to help daughter Janine with her job, everyone wants to log on. But the family’s existing problems-financial troubles, Alzheimer’s, parent-child conflict-only get more intense in the world of Internet gambling and online chat-room dating. A four-person “Compuchorus” calls out Internet jargon, pop-up advertising and Instant Messages, as the computer becomes a complex and sinister character.
- Way of a God (Kumu Kahua, 2020)
Dennis Carroll’s historical tragedy chronicles Cook’s journey toward first contact, and catastrophe. At Kumu Kahua.
- Kiko’s World (Theater Mu, 1998)
The play tells the story of a young boy in Paraguay who conjures up characters from an Asian folk tale to help his father’s theater company. Incorporating puppetry and music, the show investigates how theater can address political oppression.
- Ulua: The Musical (Kumu Kahua, 1999)
With book and lyrics by Lee Cataluna and music by Sean T. C. O’Malley Ulua deals with life, love, and fishing on Maui. Local boy Kayden Asiu leaves his job, his Soloflex, and his fiancée Lylas on O`ahu to explore life’s options on Maui. Butchie and Clyson, two co-workers, introduce him to the joys of all-night ulua fishing. But Lylas follows him to Maui, Butchie’s fiancée gets upset, and eventually the women follow their men to the ulua, and the sea.
- Half Dozen Long Stem (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
Local Hawaiian humor in a Honolulu lei and flower shop.
- Super Secret Squad (Kuma Kahua, 2002)
A comedy focussing on five University of Hawaii students who question the deeds of bureaucrats who banish the name “Rainbows” from UH athletics and turn the Duke Kahanamoku statue in Waikiki away from the ocean. In trying to make things right again, the students find their pranks get them into serious trouble.
- Folks You Meet in Longs (Kuma Kahua, 2003)
In a series of sometimes comic, sometimes somber monologues set inside a Hawai’i Longs Drug Store, Cataluna continues her theatrical exploration of the human condition with an emphasis on local color. Customers and employees alike take turns onstage discussing everything from product purchases to boyfriends and girlfriends, abusive spouses and mortal enemies. Some two dozen characters, including Verna (“Waipahu’s answer to Martha Stewart”), Rhondalei Alvarado, Rogelio “D.J. Stankmaster” Cabingabang, Crazy Aunt Cookie, Officer Wolverton Kahaunaele and Uncle Choochie Nawai, tend inadvertently to reveal their own personalities while discussing the character flaws of others—all against the backdrop of Hawaii’s preferred shopping destination. As character Cheryl Moana Marie Sakata says, “This is my whole life. This is the rest of my life. Zippys, Foodland, Longs.”
- Da Maya (Kumu Kahua, 1998)
When Da Mayah debuted at Kumu in 1998, it broke box office records, drew rave reviews and inaugurated for playwright Lee Cataluna the creation of what would become a string of hit comedies. Now Da Mayah is back in all its wacky hilarity. The newly-elected mayor of Hilo, Lester Perez (campaign slogan: “Do What He Sez!”), is not too bright, but his administrative assistant, second in command and mistress Sandralene Leialoha Ferreira, manages fairly successfully to keep him from making a complete fool of himself. When Lester is blackmailed by a childhood friend, Derek Pang, Sandy enlists the aid of her gangster cousin Dukie and his hit man Stanton, who has “a rap sheet thicker than the Bible” and a crush on Sandy. The action takes us from the mayor’s office to Jazzmin’s Karaoke Bar and Washerette (“Karaoke solo $1.50, duet $4.00”), bringing to play assassination attempts, betrayals and bad plate lunches.
- The Great Kaua‘i Train Robbery (Kumu Kahua, 2010)
Kaua‘i, 1920: At a time when plantations used railways to transport workers’ pay, the stage was set for one of Hawai‘i’s most unusual robberies. This is the story of Hali, a man who will do anything to protect his beloved family—even if it means becoming a suspect in the crime. From the author of the smash hits Folks You Meet in Longs and Da Mayah comes this tender and moving drama, inspired by a true story, about how far we go for the people we love.
- The Flowers of Hawai’i (Kumu Kahua, 2013)
Ten vignette playlets capture the essence of family relationships.
- Uncle’s Regularly Scheduled Garage Party is CANCELLED Tonight! ( Kumu Kahua, 2017)
Uncle’s regularly scheduled garage party is cancelled for the first time in — ever! The usual attendees show up and process their shock over the cancellation– while they eat, drink, talk story and play music. The old friends spend the evening telling stories, laughing and sharing food. But it’s not a party, because Uncle’s regularly scheduled garage party is CANCELLED!
- Going Somewhere (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
Chae, Esther K.
- So the Arrow Flies (ART168 Productions, 2007)
So the arrow flies is solo performance piece written and performed by Esther K. Chae and is about triple spy Catherine (North Korean agent guised as a South Korean civilian who works as a FBI asset in the United States) and the Korean American FBI Agent Park that catches her. Included also is the character of triple agent’s 12 year old daughter Mina and Agent Park’s elderly mother Mrs. Park who has survived the Korean war. With a turn on the chair, the actor changes to all 4 different characters to unfold the stories of each individual.
- Emil, a Chinese Play (1992)
Comedy, Flexible Set, Full-length, 3M, 3W
A young South American journeys through the United States, into the heart of Chinatown, and lands in the arms of Mother, the quintessential Chinese uber-mom, who will do anything, anything at all, to find her spinster daughter a man. A sweet comedy about lonely hearts and the American dream.
- Novell-Ah! (NY Shakespeare Festival, 1993)
A mother and daughter play out the fantasies of their lives through the lurid postures of a Spanish soap opera.
- Willy Gee!
Black Comedy/Screenplay, 90 Minutes, 3M, 3W
It’s the Roaring 20s in California. Little Willy Gee, a Chinese American boy, grows up in his family’s small town bordello. When he falls in love with forbidden fruit—a woman from the family business and a white girl from school—what’s a young boy to do?
- Rancho Grande (NWAAT, 1999)
A dark comedy that takes disturbing look at the conflicting identities of Asians in America and their struggle to define themselves as a young Chinese American girl comes to terms with her emerging sexuality.
Opera Libretto, Flexible Set,90 Minutes, 4M, 4W
A mythic tale of a three-breasted, three-armed, Asian goddess—half-woman, half snake. Now an angry single mother of three teen princesses—one Black, one White, and one Lemon Yellow, she must contend with their man-crazy desires. Sadly, her zeal leads to tragedy. A fairy tale about transforming woman’s fury into mother’s blessing.
- Kitchen Table (Magic Theatre, 2005)
Patriarch Alex Wong demands a perfectly ordered family dinner — every dish, every chopstick, every son and daughter in its place. When favorite son, Nicky, shows up late, beaten and covering up a swastika cut on his chest, Alex orders the family to continue eating. So begins their battle, as father and son each struggles to carve out his version of Chinese American manhood — in and outside the Family. Special thanks to the Tournesol Project.
- Pilgrim (2005)
Black Comedy, Short Play, Unit Set 1M, 1W
A little tale of corporate lust. In the midst of a dark and stormy night, Maxine, the temp, finds her heart’s desire in the form of the company fixer, a giant falcon named Perry. But is it love or co-option? Only the other typists will tell.
- Daphne Does Sim Sum (Centenary Stage Company, 2007)
In this humorous new play, two old friends lock horns in a dim sum restaurant in a competition to determine who has the best conpoy, the best emerald ring, the best dance partner and who will pay the check.
- Consent (2007)
Drama, 15 Minutes, Unit Set, 1M, 2W
Two daughters confront the risks of enrolling their dying father in a new cancer therapy, only to pick at old family wounds. Unable to move or communicate, Dad still proves that love rules the day.
Staged readings: The Exploratorium (2008, 2007); Magic Theatre (2007).
- Bone to Pick (Cutting Ball Theatre, 2008)
Bone to Pick sets the story of Ariadne in a diner at the end of the war-torn world. Here, Ariadne, now reconfigured as Ria the Waitress, has been stranded in a military base diner for three-thousand years. Depleted by millennia of foreign occupation, Ria enters the labyrinth and confronts her part in the murder of her brother, Steer #576. A dizzyingly postmodern look at the costs of love, war and womanhood.
- Diadem (Cutting Ball Theatre, 2008)
Companion piece to Bone to Pick. A true-to-the-myth version of Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur. How one woman’s love helps restore civilization to a brutal world.
- CIRCUS (or Mah-heih!) (2009)
Comedy, One Act, Unit Set, 4M, 5W
Based on interviews with Chinese from different generations of immigration to the United States, this play explores what Chinese Americans desire in the performing arts. The immigrants are re-imagined as acrobats in the circus that is life in America.
- Madame Ho (Magic Theatre, 2013)
Madame Ho tells the story of a formidable woman in the Barbary Coast, a real-life 19th-century brothel madam, Chinese immigrant, wife and mother. Within the confines of the bordello, Madame tries to raise her daughter Daisy right. But headstrong Daisy is spoiled by her father and infatuated with a new servant girl. Madame Ho explores the epic history of the Chinese American West through a shape-shifting tale of one woman¹s struggle to forge a life for herself and her daughter.
- Oriental Playas (Peeling, 2003)
In the sequel to Peeling’s 2002 hit Vampire Geishas of Brooklyn, a motley crew of Asian American performers search for love, or at least sex, via slam poetry and on-line dating.
- Beckoning Cat (Desipina, 2005)
Waiting for the lucky numbers at a convenience store can prove to be an unlucky business.
- No Time for Champions (Ma-Yi, 2006)
- Jackrabbit ()
- One Family, One Child, One Door (Yangtze Rep, 2002)
- The Soongs: By Dreams Betrayed (Yangtze Rep, 2003)
Before the Shah, before the Marcoses, there were the Soongs…
- Forbidden City West (Yangtze Rep, 2008)
An original musical in English with 3 scenes in Cantonese and Toishanese Chinese, with bilingual subtitles, on 100 years of Chinese American experience through the life and times of the legendary entertainer, Jadin Wong.
- E Nana I Ke Kumu:Look to the Source (1998)
Utilizing the haku (weaving) of dance, poetry, story and music, this solo work portrays the story of contemporary souls searching to reclaim their heritage, their honor and the lost memories of a shattered homeland. Exploding the images of the islands as a “simple care-free coconut and palm tree playground,” these voices cry out their concern for Hawai’i’s future. Exploring cultural exploitation, racial prejudice, economic crises and fights over native lands, these characters search for the true Hawai’i. E Nana is a journey that travels from Hawai’i to the mainland and back asking the audience and the characters themselves to “look to the source.”
- China Doll (Nightwood Theatre, 2004)
China Doll, Marjorie Chan’s first play for the stage, takes the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding as its central image. For almost a thousand years, until outlawed in 1911, it was the fashion for women to bind their female children’s feet to deliberately deform their growth. The most desirable “lotus feet” fit into “lotus shoes” — only three to four inches long. In China Doll, foot-binding becomes an all too obvious symbol for the forces of hierarchy, patriarchy and tradition that constrain all people of Imperial China, but most particularly women.
- The Madness of the Square (Theatre Direct Canada for The Democracy Project, ?)
This play tells the tale of one young engineering student present during the upheaval in Tiananmen Square, 1989. Jumping from past to present, the character of Fan-Ying takes us on her journey to join the students in protest, the passion in the square as she becomes a leader of the movement, and through to its’ inevitable end.
- Chinoiserie (fu-GEN, 2016)
In America’s mid-west in the late 19th C., a Chinese painter arrives at the home of Reverend James and his wife, to recreate the chinoiserie wallpaper from the Reverend’s childhood home. But things are not what they seem, and an affair begins that threatens to uncover the house’s hidden layers.
- Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl (Theatre Passe Muraille , 1995)
Mark Gee moves in with his Caucasian girlfriend Sally, but is too afraid of telling his traditional Chinese parents about his new living arrangements. Instead, he hides the truth as he introduces Sally to Mom and Dad in the hopes that they will like her. Fears turn into fantasies as the real time scenes are interwoven with scenes from the Yellow Claw, a satire on the racist movie series about a Chinese overlord trying to invade the west. The play skewers Asian stereotypes and examines the trials and tribulations of inter-racial romances. In the end, Mark must choose between his family and Sally.
– Sterling Award for Best New Play
– A.C.T. Award, Harvard University
– Sterling Award for Sound Design
- Polaroids of Don ()
An aspiring male romance novelist convinces a female friend to pose as his living pseudonym to get published. Sparks fly when their manuscript is accepted by a female publisher who hates men. As the charade continues, the lying couple start to fall in love, but the changes in the manuscript drive them apart. Their rollercoaster romance is echoed by overheated scenes from the romance novel.
– Sterling Nomination – Best Fringe Play
Cast Requirements: 3 female, 2 male
- Maggie’s Last Dance (1995)
A high school reunion brings together old friends and nemeses to relive the past. Old crushes are revisited along with regrets and hopes. The play jumps between the present-day reunion when people are wiser and more experienced, and the high school hey days when youthful exuberance and naivete ruled.
Cast requirements: 3 male, 3 female
Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes
- With This Ring (Go For Broke Festival, 1996)
A satirical look at Chinese yuppies.
- The Old Boy’s Club (1997)
- Kick Up Your Heels, Nina Zapata ()
- The Bone House (Edmonton Fringe, 1999)
An audience comes to hear a lecture about serial killers. Self-proclaimed mind hunter, Eugene Crowley, recreates gruesome murders to convince the audience that a serial killer is on the loose. As the lecture progresses, the audiences suspects Crowley might actually be the killer himself. But before they can act, members of the audience are shuffled throughout the lecture hall so that they sit beside strangers. Crowley presents his final proof, an inkblot that the audience must scrutinize for a full minute. The lights are turned off and the negative image of the inkblot forms the face of the killer. However, in the blackout, the true killer makes his presence known and proceeds to eviscerate Crowley, leaving the audience’s imaginations to create the picture to go along with the sounds and sensations in the dark. This play is a psychological experiment about the nature of fear, imagination, and deification of serial killers.
– Sterling Nom for Best New Fringe Play
– Sterling Nom for Best Actor in Fringe Play
– Sterling Nom for Best Fringe Play
– Sterling Nom for Best Fringe Director
Cast requirements: 3 male, 1 female
- 7th Circle (Fringe Theatre Adventures, 2001)
- The Forbidden Phoenix (2005?)
An allegory for the early Chinese immigrants to Canada, this myth tells the story of the Monkey King’s journey west. Looking for food for his people, this classic Chinese Opera character faces discrimination in a prosperous land run by a lonely ruler who only wants to bring the Iron Dragon to his kingdom. This play is a hybrid of Chinese Opera and North American Theatre, using martial arts, music, costumes, and magic to convey a mythical story with historical relevance.
– Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
- A Hero For All
Kenny goes back to school after a successful round of chemotherapy treatments, but he’s afraid of telling his friends what he’s been through. He explains the change in his appearance by lying; he claims he has received super hero powers and that he is now Captain Blasto. The play bounces between Kenny’s real life school problems and his super hero fantasies, until he is forced to confront his disease. The real hero that emerges is Kenny, the brave leukemia patient.
– Sterling Award- TYA Production
– Jessie Nom. – TYA Production
Cast Requirements: 2 Male, 1 Female
Running Time: 40 minutes
- The Sword in the Stone
(Theatre for Young Audience Play)
Two young friends, Fisher and Falon, meet up with the grumpy and bungling wizard Merlyn and hound him until he tells them the secret of the sword in the stone. Whoever draws the blade from the rock will become the ruler of all the realms. The two pals embark on a quest to vanquish Morgala, the creature of the dark woods and prove themselves worthy of the Sword in the Stone. However, Fisher discovers that Morgala is no monster and must prevent his friend from destroying the creature of the dark woods.
– Sterling Nom. – TYA Production
Cast Requirements: 2 male, 1 female
- Fat Free and Other Lies (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- Gandhi Marg
Set in Chicago’s Little India, Gandhi Marg is a very clever updated desi version of A Streetcar Named Desire in which newlyweds Shanti and Shardul are visited by her sister Bina, a recently fired teacher and a perfectionist.
- Instant Recall (Rasaka, 2009)
Madhu can’t seem to recall why she asked Nigel to meet her at the café—or can she?
- IPO! The Musical (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
- Next Big Thing–An Upstart Musical (EWP, 2001)
A timely musical about the rise and fall of an Internet start-up.
- News to a Muse (Pan Asian, 2009)
A Farcedy of Terror! Five journalists are trapped in a short-staffed newsroom during a freak storm and an epic financial crisis that threatens to destroy the world. Part oral history, part fiction a suspected terrorist attack drives the staff to seek safety in the ladies restroom where their individualized closets are exposed and the truth is bared.
- Sleeper (AATC, 2004)
Addicted to playing cards and the half-hearted pursuit of job interviews, a young woman is visited by a young man with a strange invitation: to join him as a would-be prophet. Replete with rapid-fire banter, paranormal activity, and secreted children, Sleeper (A Chronicle of the Return of the Remarkable) is a comedic tale of a distracted writer and a long-lost brother in search of activation.
- Locked House (Ma-Yi Theatre, 2011)
The Locke family has been minding its own business and enjoying (?) the daily routine when a long-absent daughter returns with her not-entirely-welcome partner. As her basement-dwelling and fantasy-prone musician-sister gears up for a big show, domestic disturbances and interrupted rhythms ensue.
- Delivery (Ma-Yi Theatre, 2015)
Tara, a woman in Gujarat, India, has signed up as a gestational surrogate for Denise, another woman over eight thousand miles away in northern California. Tara navigates life at the clinic, and Denise struggles to feel connected, when the two women encounter something for which neither one is prepared.
- Fruiting Bodies (Ma-Yi)
A family lost in a fog-enveloped woods meets a mysterious young boy. Limited visibility, the interfamilial politics of race and gender, and thought experiments pushed to extremes.
- What You Are Now (Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2017)
Pia has a professional interest in fear and memory; they constitute the focus of her research as a not-entirely-fulfilled neuroscience postdoc. But the return of an old acquaintance forces her to confront her family’s history, and a past that is relentlessly and ruthlessly tangled with the present.
- Trigger (Leviathan Labs, 2018)
When a childhood friend’s racist rant goes viral, Lee wrestles with the rage inside herself and in others. On top of that, she has to deal with a deteriorating domestic situation and a sudden xenophobic attack on a family member. What can she do? Lee seeks refuge in studies of ignorance and the science of emotions. As ancient goddesses and not-so-ancient house flies hover over her lecture notes, she comes to learn what little she really knows. In this topical and mythic dramedy,Trigger asks how we can connect people in a time of heightened fear and anger.
- The Opportunities of Extinction (Cherry Lane Theatere, 2018)
Mel and Arjun have embarked on a last-minute camping trip to take refuge from the brewing storm of their lives. Georgia is studying the impact of climate change on the imperiled Joshua tree. Navigating a world in crisis on multiple fronts, what does it mean to survive in the face of annihilation?
- Mascot (EWP, 2003)
After being fired from the Chicago Bulls, a would-be mascot is forced to work for a Developmental League team. There, the only things stopping him from being “the greatest mascot ever” are an unusual crowd, strange co-workers, and a bunch of rocks.
- Thakuris Nostalgia (Lark Theatre, 2002)
A father and his daughter struggle against shifting cultural, religious and generational values in modern-day Goa, India.
- Endings: A Collection of Love Stories Gone Wrong and Two Commercials (Peeling, 2003)
When love goes south – A real, surreal, bittersweet and sometimes downright painfully funny look at breakups. Which ending is yours?
- The Art of War (Fluid Motion, 2006)
Nora Chau’s new theatrical adaptation brings Sun Tzu’s military treatise The Art of War into the context of modern-day relationships.
- Emotionally Disturbed: a Tale of People Losing It (Ma-Yi, 2006)
- Growing Up For Dummies: A Bank Robber’s Guide (Ma-Yi, 2009)
What does it mean to be a grownup, esp. in New York? A group of friends go through the usual growing pains that thirty-something year olds do today- all the while trying to plan a bank heist. Will they succeed or will their relationships and egos get in the way. A (hopefully) comedic first look reading of my new play.
is a San Francisco based playwright whose full-length plays have been produced and developed nationally at American Conservatory Theater, Asian American Theater Company, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Central Works, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, Fluid Motion, hotINK Festival, Just Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Magic Theatre, Silk Road Theatre Project, Theatre Mu; and internationally at the Beijing Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His play THE HUNDRED FLOWERS PROJECT, produced by Crowded Fire and Playwrights Foundation, won the 2012 Will Glickman Award, the 2012 Rella Lossy Playwriting Award (for which juror Mark Russell of The Public Theatre named Chen ³a fresh and challenging voice”) and was nominated for the Steinberg Award and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award. In addition it won an NEA Consortium Grant, and made multiple top-ten lists including the SF Chronicle. Other honors include 2nd Place in the Belarus Free Theater International Competition of Modern Dramaturgy for his play INTO THE NUMBERS; a Ford Foundation Emerging Writer of Color Grant; and finalist status for the Jerome Fellowship. Chris is the 2013/2014 recipient of the Paul Vogel Playwriting Award and is currently playwright-in-residence at the Vineyard Theatre in New York. Chen is a former resident playwright with Playwrights Foundation, a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, with an M.F.A.in playwriting from S.F. State.
- Maya (AATC, 2004)
Three people find themselves in a strange, Kafka-esque prison with no recollection of how they got there or who they are. These sufferers of amnesia slowly piece together their shared past shaped by lost love and a brutal war. But soon they find that their memories diverge, and things are further complicated by their captor, a mad doctor, who casts doubts on what little they have to go on. His own agenda reveals a shocking take on spirituality. Maya is at once a political allegory and philosophical treatise that is brought to life by intense emotions and poetic language. At its core, it deals with the nature of the soul. Its surreal, neutral setting is inspired by Samuel Beckett and Sarah Kane. Its mood and language are inspired by Virginia Woolf and Kazuo Ishiguro.
- Into the Numbers (Mu Performing, 2007)
For Iris Chang, famed author of The Rape of Nanking, historical research is a thoroughly personal experience: a standard interview becomes a recurring, disintegrating nightmare of the brutal events and horrifying statistics in her book. An imagined psychological journey of Ms. Chang’s actual precipitous fall into the darkest heart of humanity.
- The Window Age (AATC, 2009)
1920s England in the aftermath of World War I. The conception of the human mind is being reframed by the Modernist Movement in art and literature, the burgeoning field of psychoanalysis, and the emergence of a strange new affliction: the War Neurosis (“Shell Shock”). A Modernist writer, not unlike Virginia Woolf, and her troubled war veteran husband receive a visit from an old friend, an expert psychoanalyst not unlike Sigmund Freud. As the evening unfolds, we go deeper and deeper and deeper into the unconscious minds of this mysterious trio–a husband, a wife and a rival.
- Lu Shen the Mad (AATC, 2009)
An English translation of a Chinese adaptation of the Greek play “Herakles.”
- Anomienaulis (Bay Area Playwrights, 2009)
An absurdist adaptation of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis in which an entire army of young, virile, waiting men entertain themselves with video games and sitcoms — while King Agamemnon prevaricates the sacrifice of his youngest virginal daughter, Iphigenia. Seen against the cruelty of ancient Greek sacrificial rituals, the ennui of contemporary culture reveals its dark psychic stain.
- The Hundred Flowers Project (Crowded Fire Theatre Project, 2012)
From Cultural Revolution To Digital Revolution: Mao and Now! Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation present a new play about one of the most defining socio-political phenomena of the 20th Century: Mao Tse Tung and the birth of modern China. The Hundred Flowers Project connects the power of today’s media to the propaganda employed throughout the Cultural Revolution. In The Hundred Flowers Project, nothing is certain…including who controls it.
- Mutt (Ferocious Lotus, Impact Theatre, 2014)
This hilarious new commissioned work explores what it means to be Hapa, or part-Asian, in the U.S.
- The Late Wedding (Crowded Fire Theatre, 2014)
The Late Wedding is both inspired by and a homage to Italian fabulist novelist Italo Calvino whose stories “Invisible Cities” and “f on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” have become Chen¹s launching pad into a shadowy exploration into themes of distance, dislocation, and transience in internet-age relationships.
- Caught (InterACT, 2014)
Structured in four semi-linear scenes, Caught is a provocative comedy that follows two Chinese American artists as they engage with a too-willing-to-believe progressive public, NY publishers and art gallery curators. Obie Award winner.
- You Mean to Do Me Harm (CAATA, 2016)
In this sharp and fantastical play, an innocuous comment at a dinner with two interracial couples leads to a surreal escalation of cold war-style paranoia. A psychological exploration of China-U.S. foreign relations and of the mysteries of the personal relationships we hold most dear.
- A Tale of Autumn (Crowded Fire, 2017)
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Richard III and Macbeth, along with popular “quest-for-power” TV shows Game of Thrones and House of Cards, this new collaboration with Crowded Fire Playwright In Residence Christopher Chen is a modern day fable about the psychology of a one-time altruistic corporation whose seemingly benign tactics destroy a community over time.
- Passage (Wilma Theatre, 2018)
The play is described as a fantasia on E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India
- The Ruler (Aurora Theatre-Berkley, 2020)
A ruler, a rebel, and a stranger play a three-way game of cat and mouse in a mythical province reminiscent of our own world. In a rapidly changing political landscape, are these players engaged in a friendly chat or a dangerous power struggle? Are they sliding down a slippery slope into fascism, or is this all a game? Who is telling the truth? Known for his plays that probe the layers of reality, Obie Award-winning local playwright Christopher Chen (Caught, Shotgun Players; You Mean To Do Me Harm; SF Playhouse) asks us to question our beliefs about power and authority in this new play specially commissioned by Aurora.
- The Headlands (Lincoln Center Theatre, 2020)
In The Headlands, an amateur sleuth and true-crime aficionado sets out to solve the ultimate case: the unsolved murder of his father. Using his memories and the family stories he was told as a child growing up in San Francisco, he begins an investigation through a labyrinth of secrets and deceptions that leads him to question the sincerity of those closest to him.
- Rosa Loses Her Faces (Luna Stage Company, 1997)
Rosa Loo, a dressmaker from China, settles in Los Angeles. Her 35-year-old daughter, Amy, who works for a publishing company, lives in New York in a ”disgusting slum pigsty,” in her concerned mother’s words.
- I See My Bones (Ubu Rep, 1997)
About aging and hope.
- Eating Chicken Feet (Pan Asia Rep, 1997)
A comedy about divorce, abandonment, and the abasement of Chinese women. The main character is in a coma, but it doesn’t stop the antics of her and her family….
- Blessings of Chairman Moo (Women’s Project, 1998)
Subtitled as ‘A Dark Comedy of Terror and Repression.’ Lest the audience worry that this mordant satire contains any reference to actual historical figures, the author cautions, “The play takes place in an imaginary Asian country. The time is any time. Any similarity to places or events or people living or dead simply can’t be helped.”
- Rowing to America (Immigrant Theatre)
- Criss Cross nee Lloyd’s Keys (East West, 2008)
Sometimes you gotta be an asshole. On the last day Lloyd can take his Board exams, everything that can go wrong will. Will he pass or will he just pass gas?
- Quyne Paterson (East West, 2007)
On Dec 1st, 1941, a young man walked into a diner and met himself. If you could go back in time and talk to yourself – What would you say? What would you do?
- Her American Circumstance (Columbia University, 1993)
Her American Circumstance depicts a British husband and a Asian-American wife coming together through their experiences as foreigners.
- The Bird (NWAAT, 1993)
- Trixie Love (Columbia University, 1994)
A fantasy-comedy about discovering adulthood.
- Toby Badger’s Southpaw Swing (Accidental Theatre, 1997)
Follows the Taylor family on a cross-country pilgrimage as they attempt to find the lives they lost on the open road. Along the way, they meet a mysterious stranger who may be the missing piece in their search for each other.
- Minky Starfish (New York Theatre Workshop, 1998)
- The China Crisis ()
- The Riddle of Bamboo (Lincoln Center Director’s Lab)
- Einstein’s Dreams (Holderness Theatre Company, 2003)
It supposes that Einstein’s dreams informed his inspiration for his theories on time, and takes a surreal look into his creative impulses. In this story, time is measured in images, not hours or days–time is variously a line, a circle, a hangman’s noose. The actors move and weave through the play, repeating bits of text, soliloquizing on the nature of time. It’s quite intriguing, and offers much food for thought.
- Wok Up American Dream (1998, Theater Mu)
Wok-Up tells the story of a Chinese family living a fairly typical, upper-class lifestyle. Dad is caught in a constant struggle to keep up with his demanding profession while juggling a family and a mistress, Mom is left with a certain emptiness after devoting her life to a husband who is never around, and the children — now in their twenties — must reconcile unfulfilling and often emotionless childhoods and the impact these issues are having on their adult lives.
- Guo Neen (ART168, 2007)
Faymen Chow must find his grandfather’s soul before he loses another loved one to a Neen on Chinese New Year. Will he solve this mystery on time?
- From Scarberia to Nigeria (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 2000)
- Clutter (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- Son (EWP, 2002)
Photographs. Memories. Baseball. Three generations of men in an Asian American family find themselves at a crossroads when a son must make a decision about his aging father’s situation.
- Body by God (EWP, 2003)
Lately, God has been testing the Lee family: the dad has a heart attack, the overweight daughter gets a divorce, and the gay son wants to adopt a baby. But Mrs. Lee is hoping for better days with the new Garden of Eden diet, a hilarious diet straight out of the Bible. As they join this program, will this dysfunctional family return to better days or is paradise lost forever?
- Year of the Dragon (American Place Theatre, 1974)
Chin’s play barges through the comfortable stereotypes of the Asian American. When first produced in 1974, the play created an enormous stir and has had a profound impact on a generation of young Asian American writers. “The language is frequently strong, and the bitterness, even when wrapped in some very funny comedy, is unrelenting.” –New York Times.
- Chickencoop Chinaman (American Place Theatre, 1972)
Documentary filmmaker Tam Lum comes to Pittsburgh to rekindle an old friendship with Kenji, a fellow boxing fan, while researching the life of a black boxer and former light heavyweight champion they both admired as boys in another city, another time.
- Gee, Pop
- Oofty Goofty (NWAAT, 1983)
- The Quickie (TF Productions, 2008)
Can you really know someone in five minutes? And is speed dating a shortcut to happiness, or a slippery slope to heartache? TF Productions presents The Quickie, a Vancouver-based, contemporary romantic comedy that rips a strip out of speed dating, makingwhoopee, and cultural collision. In all the wrong places.
- The C-Word (TF Productions, 2009)
If cheating is colour blind, so is commitment, increasingly a “C-word” to both sexes. How do you deal with intercultural cheating, commitment, and consequences? The C-Word, a contemporary, set-in-Vancouver dramedy directed by Mel Tuck, invites an intimate in-and-out of the bedroom view of four friends’ lives when infidelity and unforeseen consequences force them to choose to whom, and to what, they must commit.
- Twisting Fortunes (TF Productions, 2007)
Reminiscent of the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise, Ray Chow and Jessy Leung exchange coffee, tea and repartee against a video and photo montage of familiar Vancouver venues in TF’s intimate look at personal, sexual and racial politics on the multicultural Left Coast. A radio reporter and simultaneous non-dater, Ray is tired of the game. An aspiring actor and serial monogamist, Jessy still hasn’t found what she’s looking for. They both want out – or do they want in?
- Classroom Drama (AATC, 2004)
Some of the best drama happens in the classroom. What happens when a group of diverse and opinionated people collide in an Asian American studies course? Based on a true story.
- Study Buddy (AATC, 2004)
- Cockfight (New Conservatory Theatre, 1998)
- TBA (Ma-Yi, 2006)
When Silas Park’s girlfriend leaves him, he becomes a shut-in, pumping out blistering autobiographical stories in his little Brooklyn apartment. Just as Silas finds himself unexpectedly on the verge of literary stardom as the next Asian American wunderkind, his adopted brother Finn shows up on his doorstep, accusing Silas of stealing his life. A play in two acts, in the crevice between fact and fiction.
- Dissipating Heat (Thumping Claw, 2008)
A one-act about three store clerks in various states of crisis.
- The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi)
When Hettie dies, Milo doesn’t know how to keep the family together anymore. Greta’s been sent to the Sugar House to learn how to stop getting arrested and Doc is drowning his sorrows in his new girlfriend, Opal. Inspired by Hansel and Greta, the Sugar House is a play about trying to go home when nobody there wants you anymore.
- Fast Company (Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2013)
Mable Kwan was a famous grifter who taught her sons the long con, and how to be an expert roper and fixer. Tired of the life, Francis retired and became a magician. H became a sports writer. Blue, the youngest and the only girl, always kept out of the family trade, now studies game theory and may become the best con artist of the family. The estranged trio is called home to Mable’s deathbed. With a small fortune at stake, will they be able to break old habits? Or who will con who in the end?
- The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Artists At Play, 2015)
- Nomad Hotel (City Theatre, 2018)
The not-so-sunny side of California is nothing new to Alix: she’s bouncing between motel rooms taking care of her twin brothers for her mostly MIA mother. Her classmate Mason is a budding songwriter trying to keep off the radar of his missing father’s Hong Kong mafia connections. Together, the savvy teens must learn to scrape by without giving up their dreams.
- The Rise and Fall of the United States of Asian America (2g Productions, 2008)
- Asian Women in Space (Ma-Yi, 2011)
It’s the 24th century and the United Earth Space Federation is looking for a few good Asian ladies. Will Nausicaa Lee and her fellow wayfarers be enough to stop humanity’s greatest and most perverted threat?
- Herschel: Portrait Of A Killer (Ma-Yi, 2016)
Seattle, 1983. Something is haunting the waters of the Ballard Locks, and it’s hungry for endangered steelhead trout. Can the intrepid scientists of the Department of Fish and Wildlife stop this remorseless predator?
- Colonialism is Terrible, But Pho is Delicious (Ma-Yi, 2017)
Hanoi, 1890 / Ho Chi Minh City, 1999 / Gentrifying Brooklyn, present day. A triptych about the ownership and authorship of food following the journey of Vietnamese noodle soup.
- Zookeeper (NAAP, 2019)Music by Emily Chiu, Book/Lyrics by Ellen Mairin JohnstonTwo very different young women, on a hitchhiking trip across America, get detoured on the bayou when they’re picked up by a local named Zookeeper.
- The Virginity Monologues (FUSE Festival, 2003)
In The Virginity Monologues (written and performed by Aileen Cho), twenty-something Aileen lives in New York City, looking for love in all the wrong places, such as Adultfriendfinder.com, a sex club with a yummy buffet table, and a menage a trois on Long Island with the President of the National Bartending School and his luscious girlfriend.
- Twisting Fortunes (TF Productions, 2007)
Reminiscent of the Richard Linklater film Before Sunrise, Ray Chow and Jessy Leung exchange coffee, tea and repartee against a video and photo montage of familiar Vancouver venues in TF’s intimate look at personal, sexual and racial politics on the multicultural Left Coast. A radio reporter and simultaneous non-dater, Ray is tired of the game. An aspiring actor and serial monogamist, Jessy still hasn’t found what she’s looking for. They both want out – or do they want in?
- How to Be a Good Son ()
For most of his life, Steven and his father have been distant, if not outright antagonistic. But now that Steven is thirty and his father is ill, will the two men finally be able to put their differences behind them? How To Be A Good Son explores the difficult terrain of familial love and the near impossibility of saying what we feel to the ones we love — even, or especially, when we know that time is running out.
- 99 Histories (Pacific Playwrights Festival, South Coast Repertory, 2002)
Eunice Kim is a young woman whose promise as a cello-playing prodigy has been destroyed by the onset of mental illness. Medication allows her to function more or less normally, but she has landed back on her mother’s doorstep in a Los Angeles suburb. She is pregnant and alone, haunted by memories of her father’s murder during a robbery of the family’s mom-and-pop convenience store.
- B.F.E. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 2003)
Meet Penny: fourteen and bored. It is, as she would put it, “A very dangerous time.” Out in B.F.E. anything can happen. Girls can disappear. A security guard can find love in a department store. A beautiful woman can give her not-so-beautiful daughter the gift of plastic surgery. Welcome to the wacky world of B.F.E.
- The Architecture of Loss (NY Theatre Workshop, 2004)
This new play traces the familial repercussions of the disappearance of a young boy named David. The family’s mixed American and Korean heritage affects their past, present and future.
- The Winchester House (Boston Court, 2006)
We’ve all got one story to tell, the story that helps explain who we are and how we got there. When she’s given a chance to confront her past, Via has a choice: will she go on telling the same old story or have the courage to tell a new one? Rising star Julia Cho lays bare the strategies we use to hide from ourselves as she unravels the unreliable fabric of memory.
- Durango (The Public, 2006)
To the outside world, the Lee boys look perfect: Isaac is on track to be a doctor, and his younger brother, Jimmy, is a champion swimmer. But when their widowed father, Boo-Seng, decides to take them on a road trip to Durango, Colorado, the carefully constructed facades of all three begin to crack. As they near their destination, tempers flare, old wounds reopen and secrets are re-vealed. DURANGO is the story of a man who sacrificed everything-a home, a country-for the American Dream, and whose sons must now grapple with the consequences of that choice.
- The Piano Teacher (South Coast Repertory Theatre, 2007)
This play is about a retired piano teacher called Mrs. K, who is haunted by something that happened long ago. Slowly, the children stopped coming for their lessons. Sometimes, she blames that one disastrous recital, other times, their parents. Finally, Mrs. K is compelled to contact her former students. Their mysterious memories are not at all what she expected.
- The Language Archive, formerly Round and Round (2g, 2008; South Coast Repertory, 2009)
George is a linguist. He speaks many, many languages. But when his marriage starts to unravel, he suddenly finds himself utterly at a loss for the right words.
- Post It (Thumping Claw, 2008)
A one act about a depressed young woman who takes a phone call from her meddling father, who bolsters his daughter’s sagging self-confidence by relating a sweet memory of her childhood — a tiny incident that draws his daughter back from the brink of despair .
- Aubergine (Berkeley Rep, 2016)
An estranged son, a father who’s ill, a visiting uncle carrying their memories in tow, a woman without an appetite, and a refugee from a forgotten country—they all prove potent ingredients in this bittersweet and moving meditation on family, forgiveness, and the things that nourish us. When language fails, when the past fades, the perfect meal transcends time and culture and says more than words ever can.
- Office Hour (South Coast Rep, 2016)
Office Hour is set on a university campus, where one student sits in the back of the classroom, wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap pulled down low; he never speaks. His creative writing assignments are violent, twisted—and artless. He scares the other students. He scares the teachers. The kid is trouble. Or, is he just mixed up, using his writing to vent, provoke, maybe even protect himself? Gina is the only teacher willing to get close. But at what risk?
- Kim’s Convenience (fu-Gen, 2008)
The humorous story of a family in Toronto’s Koreatown and the last day of their convenience store.
- Happy Birthday Mars Rover
The Mars Rover sings Happy Birthday to itself as it searches for life on Mars as humans back on Earth search to understand what life is. A medley of snapshots, from cave people naming abstract concepts, bubbles that scream when popped, housewives battling existential dread, cows trying to get to heaven, and the last human on Earth collecting jars of hair. Happy Birthday Mars Rover is a darkly comedic and whimsically morbid attempt to understand the human condition and life itself.
- THE PARENT TEACHER MEETING REGARDING THE STATUS OF BANNED AND/OR CENSORED PICTURE BOOKS IN THE FIRST GRADE LIBRARY or A Person’s A Person
A Japanese American mother quietly storms into an elementary school library demanding to know why her daughter is reading a racist author’s work, while a progressive librarian struggles to uphold the school’s values. Tense pleasant conversation unfolds into a physical debate over censorship, war crimes, apologies (accepted or unaccepted), and the fraught past of Dr. Seuss.
- This is Not a True Story (CAATA, 2018)
The heroine of Madame Butterflycompletes her tragic suicide, only to wake up trapped in a never-ending loop of her story. Then Miss Saigonis born thrusting another heroine into the deadly cycle, until a mysterious office woman throws the world out of balance. This Is Not a True Storyunravels the history of Orientalist art, theatre, and the danger of fiction becoming reality.
- A Great Migration (Asian Improv Arts, 2018)
As Louise prepares for a TEDx Talk on the Migratory Patterns of the North American Monarch Butterfly, her three sons are on the hunt to find their father to avoid getting drafted into the Korean army. Part nature documentary, part TED Talk, A Great Migration maps one family’s search for identity, unity, and a destination they are reluctant to embrace.
- Small Journeys Before The Unbreakable Dawn (Late Night Dim Sum, 2019)
An Altman-esque night in Chicago where likely and unlikley pairs of people (including the Rabbit in the Moon) swirl into and out of a blustery, wintry night to find their story.
- Asiamnesia (Mu Performing Arts, 2007)
Asiamnesia is an exploration of what it means to be an Asian American woman. This piece is evidence of what 6 creative, restless Asian American women do in a room if given time, history books, pens, and paper.
- Wild Boar (Silk Road Rising, 2017)
The play explores what happens when a controversial professor goes missing and his students seek to publicize the truth. Translation team includes David Henry Hwang
- Deshima (Mickery Workshop, 1990)
- Chinoiserie (Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1995)
- After Sorrow (La Mama, 1997) with Muna Tseng and Josef Fung
- SlutForArt (Playhouse 91, 1999) with Muna Tseng
- Pojagi (La Mama, 2000)
- Undesirable Elements (NY City’s Artist’ Space, 1992)
- Edda: Viking Tales of Lust, Revenge and Family (University Musical Society, 2000)
- Reason (Harvard, 2002)
- Kwaidan (Center for Puppetry Arts, 1998)
- Obon: Tales of Rain and Moonlight (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 2002)
- Saner Than Her (Ma-Yi, 2014)
When a peculiar crime occurs in their home, three women, all facing personal crises, question who among them has truly lost it. A comedic crime mystery about three nervous breakdowns and a fish named Boyfriend.
- Girl Games
A team of female videogame developers create a violent new game geared toward young girls, implicating themselves in a crime spree.
- Sharon, John & Mrs. Wong (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
- Helping Henry Woo (JANM, 1999)
For Eddie, music isn’t the food of love…Food…is the food of love. For Lily, words…are the food of love. For Henry…well, Henry is starving…
- To His $enses (EWP, 2003)
In the rough-and-tumble world of investment banking, anything goes. Confronted with the woman, who is at once his rival, his lover, and his boss, Willy Lee must finally ask himself, “Where does the American Dream end… and mine begin?”
- Film Chinois (Grove Theatre Center, 2007)
The year, 1947. The city, Beijing. Location, a quiet restaurant in the Diplomatic District. A beautiful girl sits smoking….” Thus begins Film Chinois, a mystery set in a city just ravaged by World War II and awaiting imminent invasion by the communists. The beautiful girl is Chinadoll, an enigmatic woman with an unknown past and an even more uncertain future. Is she a communist? A nationalist? Or just an opportunist? Only time — and a fate filled encounter with an idealistic young American operative — will tell.
- A Book by Its Cover
- Incident at Hidden Temple (Pan Asian, 2017)
This world premiere focuses on China 1943 with the historic US Flying Tigers squadron and the presence of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The play throws open a window into the critical role played by American pilots in China during WWII, and hinges upon three Chinese women – who cross paths unwittingly in a secret quest.
- The Emperor’s Nightingale (Pan Asian, 2018)
This is an adaption of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Nightingale” set in 18th Century China and brings to light the youthful exploits of the young Emperor Qianlong. He befriends a magical bird who helps him learn what he must do to be King
- KNYUM (All for One Theatre Festival, 2013)
To supplement his meager artistic life, Guy works graveyard shifts at the Hotel East Houston in New York City. Between the hours of 11pm and 7am, the hotel lobby transforms into a theater for Guy’s dreams and nightmares. In this space, he encounters his parents, Ma and Ba and their stories of sacrifice as survivors of the genocide in Cambodia. Meanwhile, he attempts to learn Khmer to document his parents’ stories and more immediately, prepare for his very first trip to Cambodia. The hours drudge on as Guy tries to find relative answers to the questions that plague him the most: Where are you from? Where are you going? With the great pressure of his parent’s histories weighing on his guilt, Guy searches for a bit of pardon to, at the very least, finish his shift.
- Bald Sisters (2g Productions, 2018)
Two bald sisters duke it out to put their mother to rest. The elder sister, Him lives in Texas with her husband, Nate and her recently deceased mother, Ma. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Sophea descends on the home in a flurry after discovering the news about their mother. As they argue about what the next step will be to say goodbye, tightly guarded secrets come to light from their history – ranging as far back as their time in the Cambodian genocide to their current, less-than idyllic lives.
- We Spend Our Lives (Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2004)
Mrs. Song asks her sister, Mrs. Kim, for money.
- The Orphan of Zhao (Brandeis Theatre Company, 2008)
(an adaptation of the classic Chinese drama) The streets of Jin are awash in the blood of the noble Zhao Clan. The vicious slaughter ignites a succession of individual acts of virtue and sacrifice—as the hope for retribution and a return to a humane social order is pinned to the survival of a baby boy. The eternal swing of the pendulum of justice—powered by the momentum of personal courage—resounds in this new adaptation of a stirring and resonant Chinese classic.
- Page Not Found (The Civilians’ R&D Group reading series, 2011)Three of “the best and the brightest” prepare to take their places in life.Exquisite Corpse
Miju moves from Korea to New Jersey with her GI husband, Tony, and their son. The effort to build a life and make friends—as well as learn English—has literally split Miju into pieces. She is even alienated from her own tongue. This surreal “chorus” of Mijus struggle to express themselves despite misinterpretation and cultural appropriation.
- You For Me For You (2012)
In the closed world of North Korea, Yuna’s sister Minjee is desperately sick. To save her, Yuna pays a Smuggler to help them flee North Korea—but Minjee is too sick to make it across the border. Instructed by the Smuggler, Yuna races across time and space to New York, committed to returning for Minjee. Yet the free world is seductive and confounding: life suddenly offers Yuna a distracting bounty of choice, and time moves much faster than in North Korea.
- Catch as Catch Can (2018, Page 73 Productions)
The Phelans and the Lavecchias grew up together in working class New England, weathering good times and bad. But Tim Phelan’s homecoming this winter sets off a spiraling crisis that strains their hold on each other—and themselves. In Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can, six characters are brought to life by three actors playing across gender and generation, capturing father/daughter and mother/son in a family drama that doubles as a theatrical tour de force.
- Yellow Face (Los Angeles Theater Center, 1997)
A serial killer is targeting Asian Americans and slicing off their faces. A Korean American forensic artist is hired to reconstruct the faces of the victims. When the two make contact over the course of the case, they will find they have more in common than meets the eye.
- Home is Where the Han Is (Seoul/Los Angeles, 1998)
A Korean immigrant, Mr Yim, finds himself on trial, representing the entire Korean American community, on charges of treason “against American history and culture.” With the help of a half-Korean attorney, Mr. Yim must prove that Korean Americans have provided valuable contributions to American life or face the possibility of spending an eternity in prison.
- Laughter, Joy & Loneliness & Sex & Sex & Sex & Sex (Lodestone, 2000)
A Korean American philosophy grad student finds himself in the middle of a tangled triangle: an illicit romance with a teenaged student…a secret love for his best friend…and no idea what to do! Enter the original Gangsta of Love, CUPID, and the Goddess of the Soul, PSYCHE, who match powers and styles in their attempts to help him find his one true soulmate — before time runs out.
- Dead of Night (Lodestone, 2000)
A grown woman, haunted by dreams of an evil clown, explores the gruesome layers of a horrifying family secret with the help of her psychiatrist.
- The Adventures of BYO Boy (Lodestone, 2001)
The all-Asian American boy band, BYO Boy, must team up with teen singing sensation Girl E and sifu Keanu Reeves to stop Fu Manchu’s diabolic plot to turn the entire world into “Oriental” stereotypes modeled after himself.
- Aziatik Nation (Lodestone/Highways Performance Space, 2004)
A look at the 2004 presidential elections, 9/11, the War in Iraq, same-sex marriage and other issues of the day from an Asian American perspective.
- The Golden Hour (Lodestone, 2006)
Laura Park had the seemingly perfect life–a great job at L.A.’s top law firm, a loving and successful boyfriend and a bright future full of possibilities. But there was a hole in her life and she didn’t know why. Until one day when a near-death experience and a stranger’s prayer altered the course of her life.
- One Nation, Under God (Lodestone, 2006)
Paul Kim has rejected religion for science. But when an angel appears to him and reveals that he has been chosen by God to commit a brutal act of violence that will bring about the world’s salvation, Paul must choose between faith and reason.
- My Man Kono (Ford Amphitheatre, 2007/L.A. History Project, 2008)
The true story of Toraichi Kono, who worked as movie star Charlie Chaplin’s personal valet for 17 years before being arrested as a Japanese enemy spy on the eve of World War II.
- Grace Kim and the Spiders From Mars (Lodestone, 2009)
In college, Grace Kim had a nervous breakdown. Ten years later, she lives with her parents still unable to face the outside world. But when her sister returns to visit for the holidays with her unorthodox fiancee, Grace’s life undergoes a profound change. A play about falling in love with your sister’s future husband, beginnings and endings, and what to do if you suspect you were born on the wrong planet. World premiere scheduled for fall 2009.
- Still Breathing (Peeling, 2003)
An innocent teenager begins to uncover the shadier layers of the mysterious youth who captivates yet evades her.
- Salesgirl (Desipina, 2004)
In Salesgirl, two strangers, at different points in their romantic relationship, examine the nature of love.
- Street Stories (East West/JANM, 1999)
- earthquake weather (EWP, 2000)
- Proof Through the Night (Young Playwrights Conference, 1995)
- Bahala Na (Let It Go) (Mu Performing Arts, 1996)
Spanning decades from the 1920’s in China to the 1990’s in America, BAHALA NA is about a dying Chinese woman who conjures up memories of her life in China and the Philippines, in hopes of transforming her gay grandson. Her memories, steeped in conflicts about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and generational differences, open doors to the past, grip her heart, and lead her to an unexpected ending.
- Removing the Glove (1996)
Young Will has admitted that he is left-handed. How can he tell this to his family? His friends? Afraid of repercussions, he’s hid this sordid fact about himself for years. He eats with his right hand. His parents and his girlfriend don’t know. He can’t go on lying like this, but how can he come out of the glove compartment? Although one person in ten is left-handed, society hasn’t caught up with the facts. The school’s star quarterback admitted to being ambidextrous and was kicked off the team. Some still consider it a mental disease. There are rumors that the President of the United States is himself a leftie, and this is why he avoided the draft. Will our hero find the strength to reveal his true nature and “Remove the Glove?
- Peace of Mind (2004)
- Braids (Mu Performing Arts, 2006)
From a temple in India to a salon in America, the journey of a single strand of hair will reveal to four women from four different countries the true value of beauty.
- People Sitting In Darkness (Ma-Yi, 2015)
In this comic adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” set in the early 20th-century Philippines, a small town prepares to stage a performance for their American occupiers. Their play, based on an American novel about a young boy and an escaped slave rafting down the Mississippi, will either earn the townspeople their freedom — or more trouble from the US military.
- God of Wine (New Dramatist, 2018)
Set in 1990s and 2010s New York City, “The God of Wine” follows two narrative threads, set 16 years apart, within the same Brooklyn apartment. The play is inspired by the life and murder of British playwright Joe Orton.
- Jade Heart (2008, Chicago Dramatists)
Abandoned as an infant on a pile of vegetables in a Chinese marketplace, a fragment of a jade heart hanging around her neck—the only clue she has to discovering her origins—Jade grows up in America in the home of her adoptive mother Brenda. Through dreams, remembrances, and present action, she seeks to find out why she was denied the life she was born to, and how she can become fully herself, confident in the life she was given. Jade Heart is a moving story of love and conflict between a mother and daughter, and of the daughter’s struggle to define herself a world that is familiar and yet incapable of giving her everything she needs.
- The World of Extreme Happiness (Goodman Theatre, 2012)
When Sunny is born in rural China, her parents leave her in a slop bucket to die because she’s a girl. She survives, and at 14 leaves for the city, where she works a low-paying factory job and attends self-help classes to improve her chances at securing a coveted office position. When Sunny’s attempts to pull herself out of poverty lead to dire consequences for a fellow worker, she is forced to question the system she’s spent her life trying to master—and stand up against the powers that be. Savage, tragic and desperately funny, The World of Extreme Happiness is a stirring examination of a country in the midst of rapid change, and individuals struggling to shape their own destinies.
- 410 [GONE] (Crowded Fire Theatre)
In 410[GONE] Cowhig creates a buoyant underworld landscape run by punk operatic Chinese gods and goddesses soaring with energy, humor, tricks, and avatars.
- Snow In Midsummer (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2016)
This adaption of a timeless Chinese classic play moves the action to modern day China, but the questions of justice are still eternal
- The Little Adolfs (EWP, 2005)
Gang leader Mitchel Moreau rules Salvation High with an iron hand, until a series of mysterious stories are published, villifying him in excrutiating, damning detail. His violent hunt for the blackmailer leads to a show-down that will change the school forever.
- Fortune Wheel (East West, 2010)
John, a former U.S. Marine, has recently come home after serving in Iraq. He wants what any self-respecting American desires: a good job, a nice house, and an existence free of family drama. However, when John’s never-do-well mother Betsy moves in, traumas old and new threaten to derail their lives. The story of a son and mom who combat alcoholism, post-traumatic stress, an addiction to America’s longest running syndicated game show, and worst of all, each other.
- Beijing Spring: A Musical Odyssey (East West, 1999)
Beijing, 1989. The Pro-Democracy movement escalates into a demonstration beyond anyone’s imagination, particularly for those who were right in the heart of it. The world watched and listened as the human spirit rose to fight for something all of us take for granted: “freedom.”
- On a Muggy Night in Mumbai (AATC, 2001)
On a Muggy Night in Mumbai pertains to the gay community as well as Indian society as a whole because it touches deeply-embedded societal expectations and prejudices that keep individuals from leading fully authentic lives. It presents the themes of love and betrayal through a dramatic range of characters who are gay, bisexual and straight.
- Half the Sky (Theater Mu, 2019)
A Thai American woman sets out to fulfill her dream of summiting Mount Everest. With the company of a precocious teenage Sherpa and other hopeful mountaineers from around the world, she is constantly tested by the demands of the climb. As she comes face to face with the mountain’s frozen history, the borders between countries and cultures, past and present, and waking and dreaming begin to blur.
- Biotica (EWP, 2006)
Pasadena, CA, 1985. Genius begets genius at BIOTICA Industries ˆ the world’s first sperm bank where the donors are geniuses and celebrities. As a group of scientists struggle to save BIOTICA from bankruptcy, they turn to Darwin Sugarbee ˆ BIOTICA’s first test tube baby ˆ as their hope for survival.
- Ours is Just Dirt (Fritz Theatre, 1995)
- Ushabti (Fritz Theatre, 1999)
- The Goddess of Flowers (SDAART, 2002)
- Botocan (SDAART, 2005)
A play based on the playwright’s mother’s memoirs about growing up during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines in World War II. In this fictional account, a young woman must choose between serving her family or seeking vengeance for a hidden crime.
- Meet the Family (Fritz Theatre, 2006)
Meet the Family tells the story of a young Filipino American woman who brings home her seemingly perfect match to meet her affluent parents, who have buried their Filipino heritage in an attempt to capture the American dream. Surprises are in store as fine food and spirits are served amidst accusations of crime and conspiracy.
- Sungka (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
Alison De La Cruz’s one-woman show, Sungka, blends spoken word, storytelling and song. Using the Filipino shell game, Sungka, she creates a world inhabited by lyrical and complex characters: An obsessive high school drill team captain, a poetic softball player, a wisecracking talent agent and a Spam-eating lounge singer.
- Naturally Graceful (Mark Taper, 2004)
Set in Southern California, Naturally Graceful is a theatrical romp through girlhood crushes, dolphin dreams and floating Aunties. In this poetic, funny, moving and powerful piece, Filipina American performer Alison De La Cruz explores when moments become memories etched in the body as stretch marks.
- Gems (East West, 2006)
What would it take to make you sing again, if you gave up on your dream? How would you keep going if they asked you to stop being who you are? GEMS. Their answers became the musical journey of 4 Filipinas and a dream.
- Postal Americana (East West, 2010)
For the last five years Joanne has been sleep walking through her life. She daydreams flashbacks of her childhood hero, Joseph the Mail Man, and wakes in 2004, to the nightmare of losing her house and marriage. Forced to move back in with her Dad and reconcile the losses of her life, she seeks advice from the angel of Joseph Ileto. Is it coincidence, signs from the universe, or simply 5 years of unopened bills?
- Happy Nail Tyme Nail (or You Pick Color) (EWP, 2006)
Explore the secret world of a family run, Van Nuys nail salon as owner Gigi Van Tran battles market forces and longtime rival, Mimi Nguyen of Dragon Nails.
- Barely Breathing (Desipina, 2006).
A one-act. Take two South Asian women, a dollop of sexual tension, set it in suburban Connecticut, and send them on a first date. What they want is true love…but what will they find?
- The Shaking Earth (Ma-Yi, 2015)
Inspired by the true events of 1984, when three days of Sikh massacres followed the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the play it set in a Hindu household where a closeted husband and his estranged wife both secretly offer refuge to Sikh neighbors, while their brother helps coordinate the violence going on outside. In present day, a survivor and her daughter living in the West struggle to find a way forward.
- Draw the Circle (2016)
The hilarious and moving story of his transition, DRAW THE CIRCLE is told entirely from the point of view of Deen’s family and friends, as portrayed by Deen, bringing to life the often-ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another. The hilarious and moving story of his transition, DRAW THE CIRCLE is told entirely from the point of view of Deen’s family and friends, as portrayed by Deen, bringing to life the often-ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.
- Name It Yourself! (Toronto Summerworks, 1999)
- Esctasy (Blueprints Festival at Harbourfront)
- When Children Fall (2g, 2002)
a poignant tale of broken hopes and betrayal
- Half Chinx Taking Over the World (2g, 2002)
A hilarious and witty perspective on the half-Asian celebrity phenomena infiltrating the entertainment industry
- Christian Values (2g, 2002)
an insightful look into the price of loyalty and integrity
- Half-Chinx Retaking Over the World: The Quest for Kristin Kreuk’s Bootie ()
- Los Angeles ()
- Heartbeat of the Drum (Theater Mu, 2000)
A modern fable in which a fisherman is saved by the love of a young woman in his village.
- Cane Fields Burning (Kumu Kahua, 2011)
Ghosts, demons, and dark memories haunt Hawai‘i’s plantation fields in this tale of a curse passed down through the generations. An old man has died; as his son and grandson sort through his belongings, the photograph of a beautiful woman exposes the violent secret buried in the old man’s past. Winner of the 2010 Kumu Kahua/UH M?noa Playwriting Contest, Cane Fields Burning uses the elegant power of Japanese Noh theatre to tell the story of a family struggling to escape its tortured history.
- Like Me (Ferocious Lotus, 2016)
A bold new work on sex trafficking in Oakland and its youngest victims, told through the stories of four girls, their friendships, rivalries, and struggle for freedom.
- Sita/Sati (Despina, 2009)
A cross between Jean Genet’s The Blacks and Suzann Lori-Parks Death of the Last Black Man, Sita/Sati tells the story of newly widowed Sita Desi, an immigrant from India. Sita finds herself struggling between a want to assimilate and integrate herself into the American landscape and trying to hold onto as much of her Indian cultural heritage as possible in a new land.
She joins with the company of actors in the play to challenge and skewer the stereotypical views of Southasians. However, along the way the ritual of Sati which at first is being presented as a lark, takes a dark turn as the crowd gets caught up in the frenzy of ritual and tradition and start calling on Sita to enter the fire and become an actual Sati.
- Unsuitable Girls (Lark Theatre, 2002)
In this comedy set in the East End of London, Chumpa Chamelli – a secretary for Concrete Weekly – searches for a better man in a world of not so arranged marriages.
- The Main Course ()
- Nowhere Fast ()
- One Night ()
- Sooked ()
- The Fortune Club (2005 Tricycle, London)
Based on a unspecified true crime. The play is set around a group of friends who re-unite on New Year’s Eve and lament on their struggling existence. When it transpires that one of them has access to the credit cards of the rich and famous, they hatch a plan to escape the rat race forever.
- Chang (Kumu Kahua, 2007)
Chang intertwines two stories; a 1937 love story that results in a murder, and a present day detective story. Perhaps most interesting is that they play is loosely based on actual police files from the 1930s.
- Romeo & Juliet/Pinay Style (hereandnow)
- The Indigo Curse (EWP, 2005)
A Japanese-British woman journeys to Hiroshima in hopes of lifting the family curse. Secrets of the past and old family mythologies collide, conspire, and eventually lead her in the dance of redemption.
- The Color Yellow: Memoirs of an Asian American (La Mama Etc., 1991)
- Till Voices Wake Us (Ma-Yi, 1992)
Filipino girl retraces her roots when grandmother visits-magical and poetic
- The Sweet Sound of Inner Light (The Public, 1994)
- The Practical Heart
- Asian Massage Parlor (AATC, 2004)
The “Massage Parlor Play” is about five Asian women who work in an Asian Massage Parlor in San Francisco. They each go through a transformation and a journey on this one particular night where Suki, the oldest, most experienced and mother figure of the group gets raped.
- Shui Jiao (Dumpling) (AATC, 2004)
Shui Jiao (Dumpling) is a bold new work by 25-year-old newcomer Wesley Du, in which Daniel Lai, a former boxer and Vietnam War veteran, is confronted with the bitterness and mistakes of his past as he struggles to hold on to his estranged wife and rebellious teenage son. Shui Jiao (Dumpling) is an initimate, comic and ultimately heartbreaking saga of a Chinese American family and post-war generational conflict.
- Jupiter and Nebula (Marianne Murphy Women & Philanthropy Play Reading Series, 2007)
A stark look at two loathingly unlovable people looking to find love in each other and within themselves. Is there a limit to loving a person? Is there such a thing as an act that can’t be forgiven? These and many other questions are explored in this brutally honest one act.
- Going to the North Star (EWP, 2007)
Two high school classmates, one Asian and one Black, reunite after ten years and begin a relationship where each one will have to sacrifice in order to maintain their affair.
- Pink Shadows (East West, 2013)
Sixteen and pregnant… Indian style. The hysterical telling of three generations of Indian women under one roof.
- Giant Oranges (East West: Word Up!, 1999)
Giant Oranges takes us for a ride as three generations of Chinese men take a road trip on dusty California Highway 99 to Disneyland Hotel, where the family members stay in a room where a relative once leaped to death.
- Unsung Melody (East West 2013)
After witnessing the death of her boss, an Orange County woman is targeted by a notorious gang. At the same time, she must pull her estranged younger brother away from the very gang that put a bounty on her head.
- The Girls from Afar (Desipina, 2009)
The Girls From Afar is about slavery in America, which did not disappear with the Civil War. No longer institutionalized, it is hidden, tucked away behind manicured lawns and monogrammed golf carts. If the public could hear the clatter of the shackles in the streets, would it recoil it horror? What if the signs are much less obvious? Two girls have come from afar to work as domestics in a wealthy home, but what seems at first to be a great opportunity becomes a lifestyle of brutality.
- The Last Hand Laundry in Chinatown (La MaMa, 1996)
- The Flushing Cycle
- The Last Emperor of Flushing
The sequel to the acclaimed memoir monologue, The Flushing Cycle, explores the irony of a child who struggled to adjust to Father Knows Best Americana Flushing, only to find that struggle irrelevant in 21st Century pan-cultural Flushing (NYC’s second Chinatown). It’s the end of an era, sort of like The Last Emperor paying admission to enter The Forbidden City, once his childhood home.
- The Mourning After (A-Train Plays, 2003)
Two years after the 9/11 attacks, Mimi Okamoto is returning home to her native Far Rockaway, Queens, for the first time in 15 years. She is lost on the subway-alone in a train car with Jackson, a young hip-hop kid, who fiercely guards his privacy. Both are feeling the suspicious shadows of a post-9/11 NYC and find surprising refuge in each other. The Mourning After was first written as a ten-minute play for the 24-hour A-Train Plays series on September 11, 2003. This is the first public reading of the expanded play.
- The Women of Tu-Na House (Pan Asian, 2010)
about the women (victim’s by no means!) who occupy a massage parlour on the Upper East Side, and who are searching for their own ‘happy endings’!
- The Poet of Columbus Avenue (EWP: Paper or Plastic, 1999)
This delightful 90s romance, set in San Francisco, is a tribute to Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, and other literary influences of the 60s. Fortune cookies also play a part.
- Charlotte Second Chance
- It’s So Much Like Being Naked
- Honey Bucket ()
The unknown story of Asian American stories in Vietnam.