Saturday, April 17, 2010

They know the score: David Henry Hwang

In M. Butterfly:

"The West thinks of itself as masculine--big guns, big industry, big money--so the East is feminine--weak, delicate, poor...but good at art, and full of inscrutable wisdom--the feminine mystique.
Her mouth says no, but her eyes say yes. The West believes the East, deep down, wants to be dominated--because a woman can't think for herself."

I saw Hwang's M. Butterfly at the Guthrie Theater tonight: it was a superb production, and the central actors took to demanding roles with vigor. The play is one of my favorites--it's stylistically and thematically complicated and fascinating. One of the things the play explores is how a sense of (masculine) power and strength in personal affairs gets wrapped up in perception of power and strength at an international, geopolitical level.

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