Obie Award winner Leigh Silverman directs in Goodman's Albert Theatre in Chicago. This marks the Goodman debut of the author of M. Butterfly. It's Hwang's second collaboration on a world premiere with Silverman, following Yellow Face at Center Theater Group and The Public Theater.
Chinglish is performed in a blend of English and Mandarin (with English surtitles).
According to Goodman notes, "Daniel (James Waterston), a Midwestern American businessman who's desperately looking to score a lucrative contact for his family's sign-making firm, travels to the provincial capital of Guiyang, only to learn how much he doesn't understand: his translators are unreliable, his Australian-born consultant, Peter (Stephen Pucci), may be a fraud, and he is captivated by Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim), the beautiful, seemingly supportive government official who talks the talk — but what is she saying, anyway?"
The creative team for Chinglish includes set designer David Korins, costume designer Anita Yavich, lighting designer Brian MacDevitt, sound designer Darron West, projections designer Jeff Sugg, dramaturg Tanya Palmer, production stage manager Alden Vasquez and translator Candace Chong. Playwright Hwang said in a statement, "The U.S. and China are at a critical moment in history — each nation is deeply interested in, but knows very little about, the other. Chinglish was born from the many visits I've made to China over the past five or six years to witness the exciting changes there. During one particular visit, I toured a new arts center where everything was first-rate — except for the ridiculously translated English signs. It was at that moment when I thought of writing this play."
For tickets and information, visit GoodmanTheatre.org.
Hwang's semi-autobiographical Yellow Face runs concurrently with Chinglish at Silk Road Theatre Project (June 14-July 17) in a Goodman co-production directed by Goodman associate producer Steve Scott. Performances are at The Historic Chicago Temple Building (77 W. Washington). More information at srtp.org.