Face Value is meant to be the comeback blockbuster of the American Chinese playwright DHH. With a few days away, the rehearsal is scheduled to start but the Asian protagonist role is yet to be cast. A Caucasian actor with no obvious Asian features is put in the role. His dubious racial identity entails a chain of farcical incidents. All these happen just when the US government suspects espionage among the Chinese. DHH’s father is a successful Chinese banker and thus both the father and the son are dragged into the investigation. Can DHH survive the crisis of both his career and family? The answer lies in his own face and identity.
David Henry Hwang is the first Chinese American playwright appearing on Broadway stage, whose M. Butterfly won the prestigious Tony Award. His Chinglish, which was brought to Hong Kong in 2011, is another provocative portrayal of the clash of Chinese and American culture. In Yellow Face, a pseudo-documentary play, David puts himself on the spotlight. Mixing reality and fiction, slapstick farce and heartbreaking confession, he takes on the complex issue of the racial and cultural identity of Chinese Americans. Winner of the Obie Award for Playwriting in 2008 and nominated for Pulitzer Prize, Yellow Face drew rave reviews and was recognized as his finest play since M. Butterfly.
“One of the Year’s Ten Best. This farcical faux documentary investigates racial and cultural authenticity in a play that knows when irony must give way to sincerity, and vice versa.” The Los Angeles Times
“Brave and engrossing. Part autobiography, part documentary, part self-parody, part protest play, Yellow Face is funny and startling and moving.” The Philadelphia Inquirer
本劇的背景九十年代，表面上處於中美關係最低潮。六四事件後，美國對華實施經濟制裁，克林頓競選時把中國和伊拉克相提並論，並堅持以人權和中國的最惠國待遇掛鉤。蘇聯瓦解，冷戰結束，中美蘇三國亦敵亦友的互動關係告一段落，中國極擔心會成為下一個目標，於是鄧小平主導了「韜光養晦，絕不出頭」的外交政策。果然等到中國加入世貿和9/11事件，美國外交進入全新軌跡，中國既得到融入國際社會的契機，也意外享受了十年發展的戰略機遇期，促成今日的大國崛起。著名美國學者David M. Lampton就以「同床異夢」形容1989-2000年的中美關係，而無論兩者的夢有多不同，畢竟已在同一張大床上了。