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Pioneering work by Asian American women playwrights

The Politics of Life

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edited by Velina Hasu Houston

This anthology of work by three Asian American women playwrights—Wakako Yamauchi, Genny Lim, and Velina Hasu Houston—features pioneering contemporary writers who have made their mark in regional and ethnic theatres throughout the United States. In her introduction, Houston observes that the Asian American woman playwright is compelled "to mine her soul" and express the angst, fear, and rage that oppression has wrought while maintaining her relationship with America as a good citizen.

The plays are rich with cultural and political substance and have a feminist concern about women's spirit, intellect, and lives. They portray Asian and Asian American women who challenge the cultural and sexual stereotypes of the Asian female. Yamauchi's two plays deal with how easily a country can dishonor its citizens. In "12-1-A," a Japanese American family is incarcerated during World War II in an Arizona camp where Yamauchi herself was interned. "The Chairman's Wife" dramatizes the life of Madame Mao Tse Tung through the lens of events at Tien An Men Square in 1989. Lim's "Bitter Cane" is about the exploitation of Chinese laborers who were recruited to work the Hawaiian sugar cane plantations. In "Asa Ga Kimashita" ("Morning Has Broken"), Houston explores a Japanese woman's interracial romance in postwar Japan and the influence of traditional patriarchy on the lives of Japanese women.

These plays will entertain and enlighten, enrage and profoundly move audiences. With honesty, imagination and courage, each grapples with the politics of life.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Wakako Yamauchi
2. 12-1-A
3. The Chairman's Wife
4. Genny Lim
5. Bitter Cane
6. Velina Hasu Houston
7. Asa Ga Kimashita (Morning Has Broken)

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About the Author(s)

Velina Hasu Houston teaches in the University of Southern California's School of Theatre and is the author of "Tea," one of the most produced plays about the experience of Asians in America.

Subject Categories

Asian American Studies
Literature and Drama


In the series

Asian American History and Culture, edited by David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials..

Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture, series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeritus editor Michael Omi, series editors David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.

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