This was the second play of the Baltimore Center Stage's new season (2018/2019) that ran from October 25 - November 18, 2018. It was a delightfully funny play that took audiences on a ride through San Francisco’s Chinatown based on playwright’s Lauren Yee’s journey to connect to her family and her heritage. I learned quite a lot about the Chinese culture, the politics (corrupt politician, Leland Yee) and gang violence (Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow the Dragonhead of the Ghee Kung Tong).In the play, the red doors represented a mythic entrance way that connected the audience to the Yee ancestors. The color red symbolizes luck in the Chinese culture and per the principles of feng shui, it means welcome. On the flip side, it’s a symbol of fame and exclusion which the play explores by showing the role that the Yee Fung Toy Family Association played in preserving the Chinese culture and protecting the community from racism.
Although I’ve been to Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and New York, it was interesting to get a peek into the Chinatown in San Francisco as told by Lauren Yee whose father was a member. All the actors were great in portraying the rich Chinese culture (e.g. the Yee Fung Toy Family Association, lion dance, traditional Chinese medicine, Sichuan face changer, fortune cookies, etc.). Overall, I felt the play was universal especially as it relates to different cultures living in America who try to maintain their heritage.Great! Two thumbs up!
Here’s the synopsis:
For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush. But when her father goes missing, Lauren must plunge into the rabbit hole of San Francisco Chinatown and confront a world both foreign and familiar. At once bitingly hilarious and heartbreakingly honest, King of the Yees is an epic joyride across cultural, national, and familial borders that explores what it truly means to be a Yee.
Here are some photos:
Enjoy this trailer from YouTube: