Boardmore Theatre Presents “Yellowface” – A Thought-Provoking Exploration of Race and Identity

Cape Breton University’s Boardmore Playhouse proudly presents Yellowface, January 16-21, 2024. A compelling play written by David Henry Hwang and directed by Jule Ann Hardy, the production will also offer a special Pay-What-You-Choose or Food Bank Donation performance on Friday, January 19, at 7:00pm.

Described by Hwang as a reflection on our country, public image and face, Yellowface navigates Asian identity and race in America through a mock documentary. The play digs into the 1990s controversy over color-blind casting for Miss Saigon, before spiraling into a comedic fantasy in which the character Hwang pens a play in protest and then unwittingly casts a white actor as the Asian lead. Yellowface also explores the real-life investigation of Hwang’s father, the first Asian American to own a federally chartered bank, as well as the espionage charges against physicist Wen Ho Lee.

“My experience working at the Cape Breton Language Centre teaching and interacting with Asian students inspired me,” says Director, Jule Ann Hardy. “This production is a way to combine my love for theatre and address the need for more representation in the arts.”

The production has not come without its challenges, such as the contrast between the play’s dark content and its comedic tone, as well as having actors portray characters of various ethnicities and genders outside of their own. “Differentiating these characters while allowing the actors’ identities to shine through has been a challenge,” admits Hardy. The play addresses racism, with Asian cast members performing as characters who say racist things, creating a difficult balance between humor and sensitivity, yet ultimately resulting in a learning experience for all involved.

Working with a diverse cast of international and Canadian students has given Hardy a positive learning experience. “Everyone has been open to learning, doing research into the play and their characters and listening to their fellow cast members for advice,” she says. “The Asian students provide a different cultural perspective essential for Yellowface, which is greatly appreciated.”

Event Details:

Title: Yellowface

Written by: David Henry Hwang
Directed by: Julie Ann Hardy

Dates: ​​January 16-20: 7:00pm (January 19 is Pay-What-You-Choose-Night, or a Food Bank Donation)

January 21: 2:00pm

The Boardmore Playhouse Box Office is open Monday-Friday, 1:00-5:00pm, and one hour before each show time. The box office will open one week prior to performances and during the week of performances. For ticket information, call 902-563-1652.

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