Jomar Tagatac, Will Dao, Kina Kantor, Carrie Paff, Sharon Shao, and Michael Torres Set for San Francisco Playhouse Production of Jessica Huang’s THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN, May 4 – Jun. 18

San Francisco Playhouse is presenting The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin by Jessica Huang on the San Francisco Playhouse Mainstage from May 4 through June 18, 2022. Jeffrey Lo will direct.

Jomar Tagatac. Photo by Lia Chang

During the Chinese Exclusion Act, Harry Chin, a Chinese national, entered the U.S. by buying forged documentation. Like other “paper sons,” Harry lived the rest of his life keeping secrets – even from his daughter. Told through the eyes of a middle-aged Chin, The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin reveals the complicated loves and regrets of this Chinese immigrant. Through dreamlike leaps of time and space and with the powerful assistance of ghosts, the story of the Chin family reveals the personal and political repercussions of making a group of people “illegal.”

“In this time when there has been so much focus on immigration-and now with so many Ukraine refugees flooding into new lives-our story about Harry Chin is achingly universal,” said Bill English, Artistic Director. “This country is full of people who came from somewhere else. That fact has been, for several centuries, our glory and our shame. How those who migrate to a new land grieve the loss of their home and adapt to the new breaks our hearts with empathy.”

The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin is based on the true story of Liang Cheng Yu, who immigrated to the United States from Taishan, China in 1939 under the name Harry Chin. Through hours of interviews with Chin’s daughter, Sheila, and pages of archival interviews with Chin himself, Jessica Huang retells the story of this one man’s internal struggle.

“People and life sometimes, it’s so hard to know [what to do]. Right or wrong, it’s hard to say, hard to suggest … You do what you can. We’re only human, you know.” – Harry Chin, in a 2002 interview with the Minnesota Historical Society.

The cast features Jomar Tagatac* as Harry, with Will Dao* as Poet/Immigration Officer, Kina Kantor* as Sheila, Carrie Paff* as Laura, Sharon Shao as Yuet/Susan and Michael Torres* as Boss/Interrogator. Understudies include Lore Gonzales, Tony Ortega, Jamie Strube, and Charlotte Ying Levy.

Tickets ($30 – $100) are now available. For tickets or more information, the public may contact the San Francisco Playhouse box office at 415-677-9596, or online. San Francisco Playhouse is located at 450 Post St. Floor 2M, San Francisco CA 94102.

Jessica Huang

Jessica Huang is a playwright based in New York, from Minnesota. Her work has been commissioned by Audible, History Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mixed Blood Theatre, Timeline Theater, Theater Masters and Theater Mu, and includes The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin (Barry and Bernice Stavis Award, Kilroy’s List), Mother of Exiles (Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award, Kendeda Prize Finalist), Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying, and Purple Cloud. She has been a member of the Civilians R&D Group, Page 73’s Interstate 73 and Ars Nova Play Group, and has had fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center and McDowell. She is a graduate of the Playwrights Program at Juilliard. More: Jessica-Huang.com

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