Chay Yew talks about The Square, a unique Asian-American theater project at the Public.
This ambitious project was created and curated by Lisa Peterson and Chay Yew, who premiered it in L.A. last year in a production by Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum's Asian Theater Workshop. The action of each short play is set in and around a park in New York's Chinatown, and each participating playwright drew structural requirements and limitations out of a hat. For example, there were four time periods to choose from: 1880, 1920, 1960, and 2000. Choices of theme included destiny, order, chaos, and tradition. The writers even drew lots to determine the number of actors (up to four) and the racial makeup of characters (Asian, non-Asian, or mixed) for each play.
"The styles are widely diverse," says Yew. "When we did it in L.A., I think people left the theater feeling two ways: 'Wow, I never realized there's this breadth of writing in American theater,' and also, 'I never realized the history that Asian Americans have in this country.' "