Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas

Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas

Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 13 photographs Published: August 2012

Editor: Esther Kim Lee

Asian American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism, Theater and Performance > Theater

Showcasing the dynamism of contemporary Korean diasporic theater, this anthology features seven plays by second-generation Korean diasporic writers from the United States, Canada, and Chile. By bringing the plays together in this collection, Esther Kim Lee highlights the themes and styles that have enlivened Korean diasporic theater in the Americas since the 1990s. Some of the plays are set in urban Koreatowns. One takes place in the middle of Texas, while another unfolds entirely in a character's mind. Ethnic identity is not as central as it was in the work of previous generations of Asian diasporic playwrights. In these plays, experiences of diaspora and displacement are likely to be part of broader stories, such as the difficulties faced by a young mother trying to balance family and career. Running through these stories are themes of assimilation, authenticity, family, memory, trauma, and gender-related expectations of success. Lee's introduction includes a brief history of the Korean Peninsula in the twentieth century and of South Korean immigration to the Americas, along with an overview of Asian American theater and the place of Korean American theater within it. Each play is preceded by a brief biography of the playwright and a summary of the play's production history.


“The volume could be a reading in a course on multicultural theatre and does share some interesting plays by talented American artists of Korean ancestry.” — Kathy Foley, Asian Theatre Journal

“This anthology, the entire volume or each play alone, could be used or courses on theater/performing art, Korean diaspora literature, and ethnic American literature, and those interested in transcultural and multidisciplinary studies would find it valuable.” — Heui-Yung Park, Korean Studies

“The seven plays-two one acts and five full length-and Lee's introduction result in a volume whose sum exceeds the total of its parts in presenting a complex, comprehensive panorama of Korean American identity and experience. . . .  A significant collection that serves as a model for future anthologies. Recommended. All readers.” — K. J. Wetmore Jr., Choice

"For over a decade now, some of our nation's most impressive new plays have been written by Korean American dramatists. Esther Kim Lee's important anthology gathers together the groundbreaking work of these artists, who are transforming American theater with their energy, innovations, and sheer talent." — David Henry Hwang, playwright

"In this exciting anthology of work by Korean diasporic playwrights, Esther Kim Lee has assembled plays that are diverse thematically and aesthetically. Portrayals of diasporic identities vary significantly. The experimentation of History K, Mina, Yi Sang Counts to Thirteen, and the children's play Hongbu and Nolbu is nicely balanced by the more conventionally staged 99 Histories, Satellites, and American Hwangap. Lee's strong, assured introductions to the collection and each play add useful information and analysis." — Josephine Lee, author of Performing Asian America: Race and Ethnicity on the Contemporary Stage


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Esther Kim Lee is Associate Professor of Theater and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of A History of Asian American Theatre.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

History K / Edward Bok Lee 1

99 Histories / Julia Cho 21

American Hwangap / Lloyd Suh 85

Hongbu and Nolbu: The Tale of the Magic Pumpkins / Jean Yoon 151

Yi Sang Counts to Thirteen / Sung Roo 195

Satellites / Diana Son 247

Mina / Kyoung H. Park 321

Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5274-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5253-2
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