Chairs and a Long Table OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Web Begole
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    November 6, 2014
    Closing:
    November 22, 2014

    Theater: Clurman Theatre / 410 West 42nd Street, New York, New York, 10036

    Synopsis: 

    Han Ong’s Chairs and a Long Table follows a group of Asian American actors in New York City as they prepare to attend a conference addressing racial discrimination in the casting of a classic Chinese play, where the two lead characters have been cast with non-Asian actors.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Chairs and a Long Table

    The Places Are Set, but Not for All

    Alexis Soloski

    November 12, 2014: A bitter satire and a realist drama, a position paper and a cri de coeur, Han Ong’s Chairs and a Long Table mingles rage, rational argument and bleak comedy. In a faceless New York conference room, four Asian-American actors and a white P.R. consultant gather to strategize for a coming forum. A fictional theater on the opposite coast, the Laguna Rep, has just announced it will present “The Center of the World,” a new play set in Imperial China. But the casting has incited controversy. As the actress Angie (Julienne Hanzelka Kim) explains, “The Chinese are mostly white people.” She and a colleague, Bill (Moses Villarama), are heading to California to join in a town-hall-style meeting on the issue. While a note in the program describes the play as “a work of fiction,” it’s likely that Mr. Ong drew inspiration from the small storm surrounding La Jolla Playhouse’s 2012 show The Nightingale, a musical version of the Hans Christian Andersen story set in ancient China. It included only two actors of Asian descent in its 12-member cast. That same year, the Royal Shakespeare Company drew similar criticism for casting just three Asian actors in a new adaptation of The Orphan of Zhao, a medieval epic sometimes called the Chinese Hamlet. Two of those actors played dogs. Colorblind? Postracial? Woof woof.

    READ THE REVIEW

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