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Theatre Rhinoceros Presents PORCELAIN: A Free Staged Reading

The reading is set for December 13, 2022.

Theatre Rhinoceros Presents PORCELAIN: A Free Staged Reading

Written by acclaimed Singaporean-born playwright and director Chay Yew (A Language of their Own, Wonderland), Porcelain is an examination of a young man's crime of passion. Triply scorned - as an Asian, a homosexual, and now a murderer - Chinese 19 year-old John Lee has confessed to shooting his Caucasian lover in a public lavatory in London. The play dissects the crime through a prism of conflicting voices: newscasts, flashbacks, and John's own recollections to a prison psychiatrist.

Through the biting, alternative darkness of Yew's work, one can see the emergence of a queer Asian consciousness and inner turmoil that is rarely presented on today's Western stages. For those paying attention, there has been a definite shift in American live theatre to showcase celebratory displays of Asian culture (see: the recent Broadway premiere of KPOP, the push for AAPI actors to fill conventionally white roles locally and nationally, and the gradual integration of original AAPI-centered and -led works into local theatre seasons), especially in response to the rise of anti-Asian violence in the United States. It is so much more important then, to understand and honor what Chay Yew himself called "the dark side" of living as an Asian person today, especially a queer Asian person, in a Western colonial society - to honor what is painful, unsettling, and non-conforming about the shared experiences of Asian-ness and queer-ness, as well as that which we are told is beautiful, familiar, and exemplary.

"In the core of this provocative, bold drama is a question of identity, belonging and otherness, as well as an exploration of love and connection," says Ely Sonny Orquiza, the multidisciplinary director of the reading. "What I love most about Porcelain is Yew's genius blend of poetry, imagery, and cultures that has forced me to continually reflect about the progress of the queer movement - or lack thereof- in respect to the Asian community. I'm particularly curious how the Bay Area will receive this piece, especially being in the heart of the Castro Neighborhood."

Porcelain: A Free Staged Reading is directed by Orquiza and performed by a cast of Bay Area actors at Theatre Rhinoceros, the longest-running LGBTQ+ theatre in the world.



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