Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-08-21
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr

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This anthology assembles seven dramas by second-generation Korean American playwrights. The plays represent diverse themes and approaches. While they all address the Korean diaspora, some do so more obliquely than others. The collection is bookended by one-act plays. It opens with History Kby Edward Bok Lee and closes with Minaby Kyoung Park. These short works convey feelings of fragmentation and disorientation. Character K is a middle-aged Asian prostitute whose inarticulate speech and erratic behavior seem to embody the physical and emotional toll of military occupation in Asia. Mina, the character in the last piece, wrestles with how she feels uprooted and displaced by her multiple identities as Peruvian, Korean, Japanese, and American. Among the five full-length plays, Julia Cho's 99 Historiesforegrounds the mother-daughter relationship and the ambivalence about remembering the past. In their emphasis on universal themes alongside the more culturally specific, the plays signal an evolution in Asian American theatre. For instance, Diana Son's Satellitesis as much about pregnancy and raising a family as it is about passing on cultural heritage and resisting racial stereotypes. In her valuable introduction, Esther Kim Lee provides a brief history of twentieth-century Korean history and immigration to the Americas, an overview of Asian American theatre, and a look at the role of Korean Americans in relation to it.

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