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Handbill for Kimchee and Chitlins by Elizabeth Wong

Handbill for the West Coast première of Kimchee and Chitlins

by Elizabeth Wong at West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, opened July 15, 1994. Directed by Ted Lange.

Postcard for SlutForArt by Ping Chong

Postcard for the World Premiere of SlutForArt

 by Ping Chong, Playhouse 91, New York, NY, March 2-7, 1999. Directed by Ping Chong. Starring Muna Tseng.

Publicity photograph for Kwaidan

Publicity photograph for the touring production of Kwaidan

 by Ping Chong, International Festival of Puppet Theater, 1998. Directed by Ping Chong.

Playbill for Yellow Fever by Rick Shiomi

Playbill for the Canadian Première of Yellow Fever

 by Rick Shiomi, at the Toronto Free Theatre, Toronto, ON, 1983.

Production still from After Sorrow by Ping Chong

Production still from After Sorrow

by Ping Chong at La MaMa Annex Theater, January 31-February 15, 1997. Directed by Ping Chong.

Postcard for Dating and Mating in Modern Times by Elizabeth Wong

Postcard for Dating and Mating in Modern Times

by Elizabeth Wong, staged at Emory University Theater Lab, Atlanta, GA, September 20-October 4, 2003. Directed by Elizabeth Wong.

Asian American Drama is an online text collection that brings together more than 250 plays, along with related biographical, production, and theatrical information. The collection begins with the works of Sadakichi Hartmann in the late 19th century and progresses to the writings of contemporary playwrights, such as Philip Kan Gotanda, Elizabeth Wong, and Jeannie Barroga.

In the late 19th century, when Asian American drama made its debut, the spotlight was firmly on the lives and struggles of Asians in North America, rather than on the cultures and traditions of the Asian homeland. Today, Asian American playwrights continue to challenge established theatrical conventions by calling attention to issues and experiences that might otherwise be ignored or marginalized.

The plays have relevance well beyond the study of literature, drama, and Asian American studies. They present views of important historical events, such as the construction of the railroads in the 19th century, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Vietnam conflict. The plays also address sociological issues, such as assimilation, integration, and cultural identity in a Western context. The effect of Western religion is also examined. For example, David Henry Hwang’s Family Devotions deals with evangelism and religious identity as experienced by Chinese Americans. By reenacting experiences familiar to audiences, these plays provide opportunities for viewers to examine their own reactions to racism and other experiences of their ethnicity.

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