Saturday, April 3, 2010
Show #17 "Ching Chong Chinaman" at SIS Productions
Ahhh Sooooo....what can I say about those wonderful Asian stereotypes?
It all depends...on who is expressing them. I have indulged in them on occasions, usually in a humorous manner. My Asian friends and relatives regularly tease one another using some of the worst Asian stereotypes in the book.
But we can do that, right? 'Cuz we're Asian, therefore (so the logic goes), we can't be racist toward ourselves, can we?
But, if a white person tries to throw any of those stereotypes on us, watch out! They had better fear for their lives. Remember, we're Asians. We all know martial arts.
We're also real good at math. And we all speak English remarkably well, even those of us born in the US. And, for some strange reason, we all look alike.
And I, as an honorable Japanese-American wife, submissively serve my caucasian husband in a manner that would make Madame Butterfly proud.
So what's the point here? Well, if you haven't figured it out already, here it is: cultural stereotypes, when placed in the right hands, can entertain, inform, educate and make hilarious comedy.
Lauren Yee's marvelous script had the heavily Asian audience roaring their approval. But, I also noticed the non-Asian members in the crowd enjoying themselves every bit as much.
Ms. Yee has learned at a young age that you can make more effective social commentary with nose-tickling soda pop than with editorial vinegar. Written as her senior thesis in college, Ching Chong Chinaman shows Ms. Yee to be a playwriting prodigy.
At this moment, she is a young graduate student, whose plays have been produced throughout the country. Ching Chong Chinaman opened in New York this week as well as here in Seattle. She displays wisdom and success beyond her years.
But that shouldn't surprise us. She's Asian. That means she's real smart.....right?
Production photo courtesy of SIS Productions