By popular demand, Sierra Madre Playhouse will again present online the recent selection from its virtual Off the Page series of staged readings, “Yellow Face” by David Henry Hwang. Because of the pandemic, the Playhouse cannot present this event to a live audience but you will be able to access it online via YouTube beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday. Viewing time will continue throughout the day until 11:59 p.m. The event is 120 minutes in duration with a brief intermission. You may begin viewing at any time, but you must commence viewing by 9:30 p.m. to see the entire reading. This event is free, but donations are accepted.
The lines between truth and fiction blur with hilarious and moving results in Asian American playwright David Henry Hwang’s unreliable memoir. Fresh off his Tony award win for “M. Butterfly,” Hwang 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 Hwang 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, Hwang’s father, Henry Y. Hwang, an immigrant who loves the American Dream and Frank Sinatra, finds himself ensnared in the same web of late-1990s 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 Hwang to confront the complex and ever-changing role that “face” plays in American life today.