4 SeasonS Resident Playwright 2020
Jessica Huang’s work includes The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin (History Theatre commission/premiere, 2017 Kilroy’s List, 2018 Barry and Bernice Stavis Award), Purple Cloud (Mu Performing Arts premiere), and Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying (Mixed Blood Theater commission). She has commissions with Manhattan Theatre Club, TimeLine Theatre Company, Theater Masters, History Theatre, and Theater Mu. Her work has been developed, commissioned, and/or produced by Atlantic Theater Company, New York Theatre Workshop, The New Group, New York Stage and Film, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, The Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Museum of American Art, Yellow Earth Theatre and many more. She is a MacDowell Fellow; two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow; and Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow; and has received awards from the Sloan Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council/McKnight. Jessica co-founded and co-directs Other Tiger Productions, a theatrical production company with a mission to pursue multidisciplinary collaborations, intentional inclusivity and a re-examination of traditional theater practices. She has been a member of the Civilians R&D Group, and is a member of Two River Theater Emerging Playwrights Group, Ars Nova Play Group, Page 73’s Interstate 73, and is the 2019 resident playwright at Chance Theater. She attends the Playwrights Program at Juilliard.
The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin
During the Chinese Exclusion Act, Harry Chin, a Chinese national, entered the U.S. by buying forged documentation. Like other “Paper Sons,” Harry underwent a brutal detention and interrogation, and 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 who wound up in Minnesota. 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 group of people “illegal.”
When you’re hapa, you know deep down you’re greater than the sum of your many parts. In Purple Cloud, three generations of Huangs deal with the multifacets of their multiracial identities as – accompanied by four Jade Pieces – they embark on a mythical journey from China to Minnesota and back again. Through three intertwining stories, the Huang family acculturates: Grandpa Lee emigrates from Shanghai to America during the Sino-Japanese War; his son Orville deals with his confusion as a first generation Asian American; and his granddaughter fights for her Chinese-ness through the search for her true name.
Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying
An epic tale of grief and global warming, the play weaves through the intersecting lives of Earth’s human and non-human inhabitants in 2045. Katrina and her unborn baby head north in search of snow; Hugo seeks purpose in a world without resources; and after a series of unnatural events, recently widowed Carla is swept into a cosmic relationship with an ageless being that challenges her understanding of time and extinction. Together with a young lynx and a swarm of locusts, their journeys become transmissions of hope and loss against the backdrop of planetary collapse.
There’s a line in a play that says, ‘haunting is helping.’ Sometimes that’s a painful thing when we have to reckon with the things that haunt us, whether they’re literal ghosts or more figurative but when we unpack and reveal and come to terms with the things that have happened to us, that’s when we can start to heal from it.
– Jessica Huang
March 25 – April 19, 2020
Production •The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin
Despite the US ban against Chinese immigrants, Harry Chin forged a new identity to earn precious American dollars to send home to his starving village. Now he is trapped between two families and two worlds. Seasoned with magic and mystery, this hauntingly theatrical tale from our overlooked history considers the personal and political repercussions of making a group of people illegal.
November 4, 2019
Reading • Mothers of Exiles
The play follows the Loi family’s journey through America across 200 years, as they are ushered along by the spirits of their ancestors. In 1898 California, a pregnant Eddie Loi faces deportation. In 1998 Miami, her grandson Braulio decides who stays and who goes. In 2098 somewhere on the ocean, their descendants sail toward a new country, fleeing climate crisis.