This week marked the end of my Writing Is Rewriting class and staged reading series at East West Players, where six students took their plays to the next level and presented them to real live audiences. After debriefing last night over dinner at Chop Suey, a Chinese restaurant in Little Tokyo (a paradox lost to middle America, I'm sure), we partied late into the evening in the EWP dressing rooms, where we sat around eating snacks and talking about Asian-American theater. Since we eschewed traditional bar-hopping festivities, someone described our night as a sort of "nerd rave."
We forced ourselves to collectively come up with a list of six—and just six—plays that are required reading for anyone who wants to understand the scope and depth of Asian-American theater. After much discussion and painful elimination, this is what we came up with:
The Year of the Dragon by Frank Chin
And the Soul Shall Dance by Wakako Yamauchi
M Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
Yankee Dawg You Die by Philip Kan Gotanda
A Language of Their Own by Chay Yew
Durango by Julia Cho
At some point before the evening ended, someone asked, "What about Prince?"—in an effort, I presume, to make sure I didn't feel too slighted.
But I didn't. I mean, like I really need the approbation of a bunch of nerds.