"People get to see these Asian American performers onstage"
David Henry Hwang’s new play Soft Power will feature an almost entirely Asian American cast.
Frances Jue, who plays DHH, said of the play, “I can’t tell you how proud I am, after a year and a half of development of ‘Soft Power,’ finally to be getting to the point where people get to see these Asian American performers onstage.”
“It’s something I never saw when I was young,” he added.
The East-meets-West comedy musical is a glance at political history through a Chinese lens. The plot sees Chinese executive Xue Xing in 2016 America falling in love with a US leader. A new world order begins to emerge as the power balance between the two nations starts to change.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Asian Americans were the only minority to experience a drop in representation on Broadway.
Jue said that Asian Americans are seen as symbols of foreign culture. “When I go to see ‘Death of a Salesman,’ I don’t assume that all white people are depressives and suicidal; I look at that as a human story,” he said. “Yet when people see people like me on stage, they see somebody who represents something outside of their experience instead of someone they might share something with.”
Conrad Ricamora, who plays Xue Xing, added that Soft Power allows Asian American actors to portray something other than a stereotype. “People were talking about how meaningful this show has been to them because they get to play more than a stereotypical Asian character,” he said.
Earlier this year, Resonate interviewed Huang, who revealed that one of his biggest challenges is combatting the perception of his plays. “The most difficult challenges for me have been the perception that my plays are difficult to produce due to a lack of Asian actors, and critics who don’t necessarily understand the cultural point of view from which I write,” he said.