Do You Speak Chinglish?

By Christa TandanaSenior Plogger Chinglish brings Broadway to China. A businessman from the Midwest goes to the Chinese city Guiyang to try to land a deal for his sign-making business. He quickly discovers that business ain’t so easy when you can’t even order dim sum. Chinglish not only displays the miscommunication in language, but also delves into the misunderstandings between Eastern and Western cultures. Chinese American playwright David Henry Hwang (who won a Tony for his play M. Butterfly) has done a great job of integrating Mandarin into the core of the play - in fact, many scenes are entirely in Mandarin (with English supertitles). As someone who understands Mandarin, I think it's a bonus to know the language, but the supertitles are sufficient and the humor really does translate. It is rare that Asian Americans issues are discussed in theatre, but Hwang continues to shine a spotlight on them with both humor and tact.

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