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DAVID HENRY HWANG INTERVIEW
It's OK to be Wrong and/or It's OK to be Hwang
Presentations of idiosyncratic history pageants with a sense of humor and musicality
A Creative Soul, Successful Playwright, Screenwriter and Librettist with All the Work He can Handle

 

ART OF COLLABORATING
In every creative process, the question of working with collaborators and/or which collaborators to work often comes up during anyone's creative career. During this section of our interview with David, we will ask the just-mentioned questions and discover why many of his collaborations have been successful.

 
David and Philip
 
PHILLIP GLASS
US ASIANS: What are the common denominators with your projects (Sound of a Voice, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof & The Voyage) with Philip Glass? In addition, is there a growing creative growth and comfort with each project that you've worked on together?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I think all of our projects are about individuals between worlds (though, actually, most of my pieces are about that!). And, yes, while collaboration with Philip has always been easy and invigorating, there is a growing comfort and trust with each encounter.

US ASIANS: Considering that both of you work on a projects ranging from the esoteric margins to the pop-culture in the worlds of Hollywood, the Met, Broadway, BAM and/or regional theater - is there a kindred creative spirit that draws both of you together?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Yes, I think we both resist arbitrary distinctions between "high" and "popular" art.

US ASIANS: How strong was the mutual attraction that you had with Philip Glass - pursuit of an East-West or global fusion - that prompted working together?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I think we both subscribe to a global vision of culture, and so it's been easy to establish a collaborative affinity.

US ASIANS: Remembering that you were "looking for a kind of East-West fusion ęsthetic that was not coming from America. . . because Chinese artists didn't have enough freedom and hadn't been opened to the West long enough to absorb a lot of influences in a deep way" - how far do you think Asian/Asian American theater has progress since F.O.B. was initially performed?

 
COLLABORATORS
 
US ASIANS: What are the common denominators that you look for in your collaborators that range from Osvaldo Golijov (Ainadamar), Philip Glass, Bright Sheng, Prince, Phil Collins, Elton John, etc. and who do you look forward to working with?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: My only requirement is that I love and respond to the composer's music. I would love to work with some hip-hop artists, as well as pop/rock musicians based in Asia. For many years, for instance, I have been trying to find a project to do with the Singaporean pop star Dick Lee.

DAVID HENRY HWANG: APA (Asian Pacific American) theatre has certainly progressed beyond a rather exclusive focus on identity issues, and evolved into the mainstream of, if not commercial, at least regional and not-for-profit American theatre.

US ASIANS: Considering that the immigrant tale is still very prevalent in Asian Pacific American films seen in 2005, do you feel that not much has changed with the dynamics of the communities or could it be that the stories of families that have been here for three to five generations have not yet surfaced? If this assessment has some merit, why do you think that the oft-told immigrant tales are continuously being retold?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Statistically, the majority of APAs right now are immigrants. So, although Asians have been in this country for several generations, its not surprising that immigrant and first-generation stories still dominate.

US ASIANS: Glass is just as appreciative of Hwang's skills. " He has a veneer of being an ordinary person, and he can fool you - until you actually look at what the guy is doing and thinking and you understand how precocious and brilliant this man is.

DAVID HENRY HWANG: That was sweet of him to say!

 
Mako
Lucia Hwong
 
LUCIA HWONG
US ASIANS: What creative focus of Lucia prompted the incorporation of her music collaboration in your productions of M. Butterfly, Golden Child, Sound and Beauty, Dance and the Railroad and F.O.B.?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Mako brought Lucia into FOB, and we clicked creatively, so we've continued to work together on a number of my projects.

US ASIANS: Which facet of her minimalist Western influenced-music's fusion with her unique homage to her ancestral Chinese roots provides the audience an aural extension of your theatrical presentations?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Creatively and culturally, Lucia is coming from the same place as me. So it is unsurprising that her music parallels what I'm trying to achieve in my stage plays.

US ASIANS: Recognizing that the soul of expressing oneself creative is imbedded within her character, as the result of being the daughter of Lisa Lu and the granddaughter of a great Chinese Opera diva - along with great teachers and friends such as Henry Miller, did that create a 6th sense of how she can integrate her skills within your word pictures?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Yes, absolutely, and her knowledge of Opera (like John Lone's) was a great help and education to me at a time in my creative life when I knew very little about the form.

US ASIANS: Recognizing that the soul of expressing oneself creative is imbedded within her character, as the result of being the daughter of Lisa Lu and the granddaughter of a great Chinese Opera diva - along with great teachers and friends such as Henry Miller, did that create a 6th sense of how she can integrate her skills within your word pictures?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Yes, absolutely, and her knowledge of Opera (like John Lone's) was a great help and education to me at a time in my creative life when I knew very little about the form.



Recognizing that David's career started with his success in theater, let's review his journey by clicking HERE.

Discover David's Viewpoints on the Wide Spectrum of Subjects by Clicking on the Below-Listed Links
AUTHENTICITY
CULTURE
CREATIVE PROCESS
DIVERSITY
MUSIC & MUSICALS

Applications
Authenticity vs. Stereotypes
Definition
Frank Chin Battles
Stereotypes - David's Views

THEATER
1000 Airplanes on the Roof
Chinese Railroad Workers
Dance and the Railroad
Family & Christianity
Family Devotion
FOB
Golden Child & Christianity
Origins of Interest
Rich Relations
Sound of a Voice
Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds
Trying to Find Chinatown

 

 

Critical Thinking
Cultural Symbol
Debating Issues
Ethnic Isolationism
Its Issues
Representations

PERSONAL INFO
2nd Marriage & Its Joys
David on Ismail Merchant
Henry Hwang (Father)
Kathryn Hwang (Wife)
Overview
Parents & Relatives
Parting Words
Personal Facts

SUPPORT
Financial
Needed from APA Artists
From Our Communities

 

Choices
Collaborators

Days of Education & Learning
Dealing with Expectations
Failure's Particular Lessons
Inappropriate Characters
Influences & Inspirations
"Lost Empire" Experience
Pressures with Success
Role Models
Working with Lucia Hwong
Working with Philip Glass
Working with Unsuk Chin

NEW & PAST PROJECTS
Chinese Mafia-type Films
Desired Projects
Hello Suckers
Inspiration of China
Status of Past Projects
Tarzan
Texas Guinan
The Fly
Yellow Face

 

APA Theater Organizations
Blind-Casting
Calvin Jung
Current Status
Daring Films w/Asian Males
Definition of an APA
Ethnic Theater
Life as a Librettist (Ainadamar)
Life as a Role Model
Ms. Saigon Protest
Perceptions
Proteges & Artists
Recognizing APA Artists
State of Asian Women Writers
Welly Yang Learning History

LIFE AS A SCREENWRITER
Across the Nightingale Floor
Experience with Hollywood
Golden Gate & M.Butterfly
Interculturalism & Objective Truth
NBC's Lost Empire
Neal Labute's "Possession"

 

Its Importance
M.Butterfly
Today's APA Communities
Working with Prince

FLOWER DRUM SONG
Anna May Wong
Arabella Hong-Young
Background Research
C.Y. Lee
Creative Choices
Its Importance
Original Version
Remembering Our History

REVIEWS
Yellow Face

       
       
       

 

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