Asian American Plays for a New Generation
edited by Josephine Lee, Don Eitel and R. A. Shiomi
"The quality of the plays in Asian American Plays for a New Generation and the diversity of the themes—interracial desire, racial profiling, and grief—is particularly impressive. The plays engage sophisticated ideas about migration and home; imposture and authenticity; political allegory; fantasy and reality; and, of course, identity politics. Lee’s Introduction and Shiomi’s Afterword serve to frame the work, providing the necessary grounding to orient the reader to the origins—and significance—of this fine volume."
—Leslie Bow, Professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Asian American plays provide an opportunity to think about how racial issues are engaged through theatrical performance physical contact, bodily labor, and fleshly desire as well as through the more standard elements of plot, setting, characterization, staging, music, and action.
Asian American Plays for a New Generation showcases seven exciting new plays that dramatize timely themes that are familiar to Asian Americans. The works variously address immigration, racism, stereotyping, identity, generational tensions, assimilation, and upward mobility as well as post-9/11 paranoia, racial isolation, and adoptee experiences.
Each of these works engages directly and actively with Asian American themes through performance to provide an important starting point for building relationships, raising political awareness, and creating active communities that can foster a sense of connection or even rally individuals to collective action.
"Asian American Plays for a New Generation is a timely, varied, and provocative anthology that does a wonderful job of showcasing the increasing diversity and visibility of Asian American drama. The collection’s strengths are many, chief among them the uniform excellence of the dramatic works that have been chosen for inclusion. The skillful ways in which the complexities of Asian America are represented and complicated by the playwrights is impressive. By focusing on the diverse histories of Asian America—including the significance of transnational adoption and the more recent historical impact of events like 9/11—the collection also makes visible the ‘secret histories’ that rupture the coherence of an imagined and imaginary Asian America. The result is striking, a testament to the ongoing development of an Asian American literary tradition that draws on the power of genre to reassess the politics of representation."
—Tina Chen, Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at Pennsylvania State University