SHORT WORKS
SECOND SKIN
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What does it mean to be Asian American in a post-September 11 America? While playing baseball, a Japanese American teenager is relieved that the hatred and racism his family encountered has found a new target. 

"A character in Chay Yew’s brilliant satire on the politics of American identity, Second Skin, confided that he was almost glad for the attack, relieved that this time it was not us but someone else doing the bombing." - Village Voice

"Chay Yew's Second Skin is the evening's most serious short. Yew begins with two immigrant boys playing baseball, the actors repeating the motions of pitching and catching. The Sept. 11 attacks interrupt the all-American activity, and Yew's poetic language builds to disturbing implications about what being an American can mean."  - Creative Loafing

The play was a part of Brave New World: American Theatre Responds to 9/11 at Town Hall in New York in 2002. It was directed John Ruocco.

Second Skin was also presented by Dad's Garage - as a part of the anthology 8 1/2 X 11: Punk Rock Will Never Die -  in Atlanta in 2004

"A Theater Marathon Looks at 9/11" - Village Voice

"Punk It Up: 8 1/2 X 11 gets punk'd at Dad's Garage" - Creative Loafing

SCISSORS
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"Startlingly layered Scissors" - Variety

"Portraying a blind barber and his long time, once-rich barber, Soon-Tek Oh and Arye Gross, break our hearts in Chay Yew's Scissors." - L.A. Weekly

"In a segment by Chay Yew... an elderly barber guts the hair of his former master. The two speak nostalgically of their lives together before the great social eggbeater of massive immigration took over, when relations between master and servant were more formal. The formality, which the rich white gentleman (Arye Gross) stubbornly maintains with the haircutter (Soon-Tek Oh), may have been emphasized the distance between the two men, but it allowed for depth of emotion, even a reserved kind of love and physical attraction." - New Times Los Angeles 

"Yew's Scissors... is a painful character study of a Caucasian high roller in the 1920s (played by Arye Gross) and the blind Chinese barber (Soon-Tek Oh) he sees every week." - Long Beach Press Telegram

The play was a part of 16 playwright collaboration, The Square, produced by Center Theatre Group / Taper, Too in 2000; and by Ma-Yi Theatre Company at The Public (2001). 

Both productions were directed by Lisa Peterson

Reviews of Scissors

AND TWO, IF BY SEA

Chay Yew's And Two, If By Sea exists in a corner of memory in the last 300 years in American history where three different Chinese immigrants from different eras share their stories of coming to a new land to make a new life.

The play was commissioned and produced by Book Wings / University of Iowa and Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre in 2013.

Book Wings 

For free download of play  

WHITE
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An elderly gay Asian man finds he is no longer attractive to the younger men at a bath house.

"Chay Yew’s White... packed quite a punch in its writing and playing – Patrick Wang had the stage to himself, but it was crowded with his secret life at the bathhouse, his desires, and his self-loathing... Even though the subject was slightly familiar (older, unattractive man unwanted by the younger “swans”), it was quite powerful." - Off Off Broadway 

The play was produced by Unity Fest in New York in 2001. It was directed by Anton Dudley.

Unity Fest review - Off Off Broadway

IMELDA AND CHER AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD

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38 million people visit Las Vegas every year for the glitz, the tits and the gold. But what's it like to live and work in America's Disneyland for grown-ups? Can you tell what's real and what's just a mirage? This multi-writer project from Actors theatre of Louisville brings to life the lives of those who live and visit this Neon Mirage. 

 

In Chay Yew's Imelda and Cher at the Top of the World, we encounter two Filipino cleaning staff members and their realities in a Vegas hotel room.

"If you have any doubt that regional theatre in America is vital and thriving, then you missed this year's Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky." - Newsweek

"With six promising full-length works and an effective anthology of related shorts, the Humana Festival of New American Plays reaffirmed its status as the premier new-play showcase in the English-speaking world." - The Columbus Dispatch

This play was produced - as a part of the anthology Neon Mirage - at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2006.

 

The production was remounted for the New York Fringe Festival at Henry Street Settlement in 2006. 

 

Both were directed by Wendy McCellan.

HERE AND NOW
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A photograph captures and documents a single moment in time and space - a snapshot of history, of a reality bounded by the photo's frame. But what lies outside, beyond, behind the photograph? And what stories, memories, or associations does an image of place inspire? In this multi-writer project from Actors theatre of Louisville, a diverse assortment of talented playwrights encounter and transform Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969, a compelling image of the monument by renowned photographer Lee Friedlander. their thought-provoking scenes and monologues range from delightful comedy to utterly serious tragedy, each approaching the photo's themes through a new lens.

 

A part of Snapshot, an anthology of short plays, Chay Yew's Here and Now centers on a couple in their twilight years - who relives an entire relationship, full of youth, possibility, secrets, disappointments, and enduring connection - while visiting Mount Rushmore. 

The play was produced - as a part of the anthology Snapshot - at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2002.

THE FACES OF ANTS
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Every Thursday, a married Asian man on the down low, Roy, has a rendezvous with his Chinese male lover Xiang in a store room. 

"Faces of Ants is written in a style reminiscent of this playwright's A Language of Their Own: The characters narrate their feelings and situations in a poetic text that is at times tender and at times graphically sexual. Occasionally, the characters seem to talk to each other or, at least each one seems to overhear what the other is narratiting to the audience. Yew also brings the racial dynamic of the play into focus." - TheaterMania

This play was produced by Unity Fest 2001 at Bank Street Theater in New York in 2001. It was directed by James McLaughlin. 

Another version of this play was produced - as a part of anthology Play  - by Partial Comfort Theatre in New York in 2004. The play was directed by Robert O'Hara.

Unity Fest 2001 show program 

"Review of Play" - TheaterMania

BLOW
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"The remarkable Blow by Chay Yew, directed by Dennis Smith, deals with alienation on several levels. The young Hmong man played by Steven Eng is alienated from American culture (his template for living is The Mary Tyler Moore Show) by being an Asian immigrant, and alienated from the Hmong culture by, among other things, being gay. Virginia Wing was believable as his anxious, overworked mother, and Keith Lorrel Manning was the man who provides the work with a horrifying twist." - Off Off Broadway

"Blow, by Chay Yew, is a modest, disturbing drama about a young Asian-American man (Steven Eng) who enjoys oral sex on street corners but really wants his life in the United States to be like the 'Mary Tyler Moore Show." The play is also about the homophobic, homicidal man (Keith Lorrel Manning) he seems destined to encounter." - New York Times

This play was produced by Unity Fest 2001 at Bank Street Theater in 2001. It was directed by Dennis Smith

"Theatre Review; Festival of Short Gay Plays Seeking Acceptance" - New York Times

"Gay Abandon: Unity Fest 2001 Program B" - Off Off Broadway 

A CORNER OF THE WORLD

In Chay Yew's A Corner of the World, Mogut, a Thai local mails back the driver license of a white American tourist whose wallet he had stolen after a tryst.  

The play was produced - as a part of the anthology Corner of the World - by Emigrant Theatre Company in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy. It was presented at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, in 2005. It was directed by Jessica Finney.

A Corner of the World show program 

GESTURES
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38 million people visit Las Vegas every year for the glitz, the tits and the gold. But what's it like to live and work in America's Disneyland for grown-ups? Can you tell what's real and what's just a mirage? Coming to the New York Fringe Festival from the Actors' Theatre of Louisville, Neon Mirage is a magical synthesis of six playwrights (Liz Duffy Adams, Dan Dietz, Julie Jensen, Lisa Kron, Tracey Scott Wilson and Chay Yew) and a composer (Rick Hip-Flores). The characters are brought to life by the 2006 Actors' Theatre Apprentice Company. Commissioned for the 30th Anniversary Humana Festival of New American Plays, Wendy McClellan directs this kaleidoscope of stories, forging a unified work in 16 fast-paced scenes that leave the audience both laughing and thinking. 

 

In Chay Yew's Gestures - we meet an overbearing Chinese mother who, every week, comes to the same Vegas hotel room on the 29th floor where her daughter killed herself. 

 

This play was produced - as a part of the anthology Neon Mirage - at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2006.

 

The production was remounted for the New York Fringe Festival at Henry Street Settlement in 2006. 

 

Both were directed by Wendy McCellan.

THE REST IS EASY
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A lonely Chinese woman in her sixties, caught shoplifting candles, encounters a racist and violent store manager. 

The play was presented in a workshop by New York Theatre Workshop at Dartmouth College in 1999. It was directed by Chay Yew.