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Porcelain is an examination of a young man’s crime of passion. Triply scorned — as an Asian, a homosexual, and now a murderer — 19-year-old John Lee has confessed to shooting his lover in a public lavatory in London. A winner of the London Fringe Award for Best Play and nominated for L.A Weekly's Best Playwriting Award, Porcelain dissects the crime through a prism of conflicting voices: newscasts, flashbacks, and John’s own recollections to a prison psychiatrist.


Porcelain received its world premiere from Mu-Lan Theatre Company at the Etcetera Theatre, London, on May 12, 1992. The play was directed by Glen Goei and Stephen Knight, and designed by Glen Goei.


John: Daniel York

Voice One: David Tysall

Voice Two: Adam Matalon

Voice Three: Julien Ball

Voice Four: Michael Parkinson

The production later transferred to the Royal Court Theatre, London, on August 4, 1992, with the same cast with the exception of Voice Four, who was performed by Mark Aiken.

The play was first presented in United States by Burbage Theater Ensemble, Los Angeles on January 1993. The director was Ivan Spiegel. 

John: Garrett Wang 

Voice One: Lee Ryan

Voice Two: Mark Hattan

Voice Three: Arne Andersen

Voice Four: Keith Burns 

Porcelain was a part of the Whitelands Trilogy at East West Players in Los Angeles on March 14, 1998. The play was directed by Tim Dang. 

John: Alec Mapa

Voice One: Tom Jameson

Voice Two: Tom Donaldson

Voice Three: Phil Oakley

Voice Four: Thomas Weber 

Understudy: John Cho, William Peden


"A most remarkable achievement" - The Times of London

"Crude and tender, [Porcelain] moves and it shocks" -  The Independent

"Vivid voice play... a touching exploration of sexual and cultural alienation" - The Guardian

"Fiercely erotic... compulsory viewing" - London City Limits 

"Intense and absorbing drama... full of variation" - Sunday Telegraph

"Powerful, provocative, fascinating... it's stunning" - Ham and High

"Skillfully crafted... compelling gay theatre" - London Time Out

"Porcelain is about fundamental conflicts - between races, between heterosexual and homosexual men, between differing emotional needs. Yew has said his play isn't really about any of these subjects, but about 'loving and relationships.' Actually it's about all of them, for it's a big enough play to handle all manner of ideas." - Los Angeles Times

"A crime of passion sets the stage for a gripping, graphic voice poem about alienation. Riveting writing... Every word and every image is as vivid and visual as the audience's imaginations allow. Porcelain combines artistry and controversy for a thought provoking evening" - Daily Variety

"A crime of passion at the heart of Porcelain isn't based on a true story, but it feels as gripping as the latest headline." - American Theatre


"Porcelain - Editor's Introduction" - Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theatre

"Killer Love: The Passions of the Powerless" - LA Weekly

"Chay Yew Mines the the Dark Side of Asian Life in 'Porcelain'" - Los Angeles Times

"Privy Politics" - American Theatre 

"Writing on the Wall" - Washington Blade

"Chay Yew and Porcelain" - San Francisco Bay Times

Interview - Fridae Singapore

"The Malleability of Truth and Language in Chay Yew's Porcelain and A Language of Their Own" - Journal of Contemporary Drama in English 

Porcelain flier for Burbage Theatre,  Los Angeles 

Porcelain flier for Mu-Lan Theatre, London

London and Los Angeles reviews

Other reviews

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