Columbia Blue Glaze Theatre Presents Chay Yew’s A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, 4/27-29

Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Columbia Blue Glaze Theatre is presenting A Beautiful Country, a play written by the Singaporean American playwright Chay Yew, and adapted by Davis Chen, A Beautiful Country, Thursday, April 27- Saturday, April 29 at 8PM in The Austin E. Quigley Black Box Theater, Lerner Hall, Morningside Campus at Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027.

Click here for tickets. CUID: $8, Non-CUID: $10

With talkbacks after the April 27th and 28th performances.

“This early work – a dance/drag//drama/documentary performance which chronicles 150 years of Asian American immigration seen through the eyes of an Asian drag queen Visa Denied – has always had a special place in my heart,” shared Yew.

“This was first produced by Cornerstone Theater Company and at Castelar School in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. The issues of immigration, racism, homophobia and violence in our country sadly still remain relevant.”

Incorporating tragicomic scenes, video, dance, and first-person testimonials, the play chronicles the turbulent history of Asian American, drifting from the aching memories of Angel Island to the loss and melancholy experienced by the Asian diaspora in the present day. Through the eyes of Miss Visa Denied, a transgender performer who struggles to come to terms with their non-binary identity, Yew dramatizes America’s contradictory messages regarding race, gender, and orientalism. At its core, the play seeks to examine the fundamental questions regarding the immigrant experience-what does it mean to be an American, and what would it take to finally become one?

Chay Yew is the artistic director for the Victory Gardens Theater. He is a recipient of the Obie and DramaLogue Awards for Direction.

His productions have been cited by the Los Angeles Times and New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Productions of the Year;” Seattle Times and Strangers’ Best Achievement in Theatre; and was named Best Director by Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has directed world premieres by playwrights Jose Rivera, Naomi Iizuka, Kia Corthron, Julia Cho, David Adjmi and Jessica Goldberg, and performance artists Rha Goddess, Universes, Alec Mapa, Sandra Tsing Loh and Brian Freeman.

He is the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Asian Pacific Gays and Friends’ Community Visibility Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/AFTRA 2004 Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award; he has received grants from the McKnight Foundation, Rockefeller MAP Fund and the TCG/Pew National Residency Program.

Yew is also an accomplished and widely respected playwright, and his plays are published in two titles, The Hyphenated American Plays and Porcelain and A Language of Their Own, by Grove Press; the latter was nominated for a Lamda Literary Award. He is presently editing a new anthology Version 3.0: Contemporary Asian American Plays for TCG Publications. An alumnus of New Dramatists, he has held residencies at Mu Lan Theatre Company, Northwest Asian American Theatre Company and East West Players.

He serves on the National Advisory Board at the Playwrights Center and the Artistic Advisory Board of Partial Comfort Theatre. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and Vineyard Theatre Community of Artists. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group and is presently on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Columbia Blue Glaze Theatre is an Asian-focused theatre group founded and maintained by Columbia students and Alumni. CBGT draws their cast and crew members from the East Asian community across the Greater New York City Area. To learn more about them, find them on Facebook, or follow them on WeChat: columbiablueglaze.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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