turning the glass around // pia wilson


I saw a really interesting play last night called Turning the Glass Around, by playwright Pia Wilson. About the play:
Turning the Glass Around is the story of a first generation Korean-American man, Philip Lee, who is struggling to cope with his father’s death — and an ensuing identity crisis. Who is he in the wake of his father’s death: Korean or American, a good son or loving husband, an American success story or a foreigner in his own country?
Philip's mother laments having followed her husband to America to live a dream that never became a reality. She returns to Korea after his death and tries unsuccessfully to convince her son, who believes he's being haunted by his father's ghost, to go with her. She disapproves of Dana Lee, Philip's African-American wife, a trust fund baby nearly swept off her feet by a rich, white Harvard alum, William Eaton, who promises a better life than her husband can offer.

I've never seen a play deal with so many -isms at once. To name a few: racism, sexism, classism, immigration, assimilation, interracial marriage, poverty, superstition, and citizenship. Stories that capture the paradox of how differences are both welcomed and ostracized in the U.S. are difficult to consume, pulling the viewer in while also making her aware of being pushed out. It's far easier to tell stories that fit into neat boxes that reinforce how alike and part of the whole we all are.

Though few of the issues were resolved, if the playwright's goal was to get the audience asking questions, she succeeded. --AL.

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