PERFORMANCE: M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
|M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang : A sensational story of lust, politics, and betrayal that challenges ideas of gender, culture and sexuality.
This imaginative and at times shocking play is one of the most celebrated of recent American plays, and the first by an Asian-American to win universal acclaim.
Bored with his routine posting in Beijing, and awkward with women, French diplomat Rene Gallimard is easy prey for the subtle, delicate charms of Song Liling, a Chinese opera star who personifies Gallimard’s fantasy vision of submissive, exotic oriental sexuality. She is to him, the ‘perfect woman,’ yet this Chinese butterfly of his passions is ultimately revealed to be far more than she seems. Gallimard begins a twenty-year affair with ‘her,’ during which time he passes along diplomatic secrets, an act which brings on his downfall and imprisonment.
Weaving into the play many parallels with, and ultimately ironic reversals of, Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, Hwang explores the stereotypes that underlie, distort and threaten relations between Eastern and Western culture, and between men and women. It is powerful metaphor for the exploration of deep themes; the perception of Eastern culture by the West, and the persistent romanticism which clouds and inhibits that perception.
The multi-award-winning play is a brilliant theatrical tour de force, which, in its Broadway production, became an immediate critical and popular success.
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