17 Aug

if you’re not familiar with “chinglish”, it is spoken or written english which is influenced by the chinese language. this has especially manifested in the translated signage throughout china, more recently gaining press as the chinese government works to address the signs.

last month, the boy and i saw Chinglish, the play, at the Goodman Theatre. in addition to the razor sharp comedy, captivating set design, perfect use of music between scenes, i found the overall message especially relevant and compelling. in a melting pot of cultures (one which now sways east in dominance), it is easy to see chinglish as a comical byproduct of languages colliding. but step back from the giggling of a misinterpreted phrase and you’ll find a message to view not just the language of another country, but the culture, people, and situation with careful interpretation.

a synopsis:

The truth is lost—or concealed—in Chinglish, a new work by Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). When American businessman Daniel arrives in China hoping to make an important deal, he finds himself enmeshed in a system that he doesn’t understand – and is more complex than he ever imagined.

i strongly suggest seeing this play if it comes to town you’re living in or visiting. it was a wonderful experience, perhaps my favorite play to date. it’s not too often that i leave the theater with a new outlook on how to navigate my interactions with other cultures.

chinglish gets 5/5 according to this critic.

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