Published: 06-10-2019

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Asian American Diversity and Differences in Trying to Find Chinatown

The play I chose to study for my independent study on diversity in theater in between 1975 and 2000 was the short play, Attempting to Find Chinatown (1996) by David Henry Hwang. Surprisingly, I have never ever read something by David Henry Hwang in its entirety. I’ve study and observed monologues from his plays, but I’ve by no means taken the time to seek them out myself. I am genuinely content that I lastly chose to study this play and take out a book from the library with a collection of his works. Right after reading this play, I realize what a shame it is that I haven’t study his works sooner and how remarkable, lovely, potent his functions are.

This play was clearly written for the diverse population of Asian Americans, as all of Hwang’s work centers on Asian American concerns and stories. Although the principal target audience is almost certainly mainly Asian Americans, I will say that it is equally essential that white men and women and I guess people of other races see it too. Particularly, white people although. Especially because this play is about a conversation in between a white man and an Asian man from two really distinct backgrounds and what Asian history signifies to each of them.

From my understanding and takeaway of the play, the message or theme of the play is identity. It is about two strangers’ different perspectives on a modern Chinese American identity. Both of the characters make very exciting comments on what is implies to be Chinese American and how one particular would reflect their racial identity. By means of the clashing opinions of the two characters in the play you could say that Hwang is trying to talk about or bring up how racial identity is not often skin deep or just purely physical/biological. That is absolutely anything that an audience member could argue with Hwang about, but I think the point he was attempting to make with the play was quite intriguing and convincing. When I was reading the play, I sided a lot with the Asian American character, Ronnie I couldn’t understand how the obviously super white Benjamin could take so significantly false pride in his “Chinese heritage” when he was just a white guy adopted by Asian parents. Soon after all he appeared to be the stereotypical weird white guy who has a deep cultural understanding and interest in Asian research. Then soon after obtaining to the end of the play and hearing the final monologue by Benjamin, I understood Hwang’s message. I understood where Benjamin was coming from, and how his own identity was filled by the past of his father and grandfather even if they weren’t biologically connected. This hit home for me simply because I am adopted and I can totally realize the partnership between adopted youngsters and their parents particularly being aware of that it does not matter if they are your biological parents or not because loved ones enjoy and connections are just as meaningful.

All round, I loved the play. It was brief, straightforward, and poignant. There was such an elegant simplicity in the length of the show in addition to getting two starkly contrasting characters. Not a single word was wasted, as Hwang is a master with his prose. He also made the play extremely funny, his use of comedy was not in poor taste and it added to the fluid movement of the play general. Once more, reading a single of his functions for the very first time really makes me ashamed for getting so ignorant and stubborn about not reading his performs earlier in my life. It is never ever too late to commence although, so I’m very pleased that I have checked out a collection of his works. I loved his perspective on Asian American identity and the queries and comments he had/has about it. He was not only able to speak for the modern day Asian American assimilated voice, but he place himself in the footwear of a very surprising and unexpected contrasting character with deep roots.
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