David Henry Hwang’s critically acclaimed play, Chinglish, opens for its West Coast premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre tonight. The cultural comedy received accolades from audiences and critics alike when it opened on Broadway last October.
Chinglish follows an American businessman's ventures in China as he seeks to sign a contract for his family’s firm. While there, he finds himself in the middle of a series of cultural complexities. “The deal isn’t the only thing in translation as he collides with a Communist minister, a bumbling consultant, and a suspiciously sexy bureaucrat," notes Berkeley Rep's program.
Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press writes, "Hwang has built a bilingual farce about mistranslation that explores the cultural differences between China and America using two languages, and then layered a love story on top of it to illustrate the divide...The result is a thoughtful, funny and poignant piece."
Berkeley Rep's co-production (with South Coast Repertory) of Chinglish is directed by OBIE-award winning director Leigh Silverman who directed both the original production in Chicago as well as the Broadway version. The production features Michelle Krusiec, Alex Moggridge, Larry Lei Zhang, Vivian Chiu, Austin Ku, Celeste Den, and Brian Nishii.
Hwang's other plays have garnered him a tremendous amount of attention. His play M. Butterfly won a 1988 Tony Award and was a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. In 2008, his play Yellow Face won an Obie Award and he again was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize that year. Earlier this month he was awarded the $200,000 Steinberg award for playwriting.
In April it was announced that Fast Five director Justin Lin will be directing a film adaptation of the play. Hwang will write the film adaptation and co-produce with Bobbi Thompson.
Be sure to check out the video below of Berkeley Rep's artistic director, Tony Taccone, introducing the West Coast premiere.
Chinglish runs at Berkeley Rep through October 7, 2012 in the Roda Theatre. Find more information here.