"Ms. Lee's fascinating play . . . goes far beyond cheap satire, ultimately becoming a compassionate and stimulating exploration of one man's existential crisis . . . She proves unexpectedly adept at strict naturalism . . . A] mournful and inquisitive play."--New York Times
"She sacrifices nothing; bodies, voices, jokes, food, tragedy, cities are all artistic fodder, as are her various selves and the mirthful, bloody life of her imagination."--New Yorker
Provocative playwright Young Jean Lee lends her shrewd perspective to this atypical take on the family drama. A father and his three sons unite and unravel, both aware of and undone by privilege and its pressure. When inherent social expectation conflicts with a desire to remain stagnant, the resulting identity confusion is new territory for the tightknit family. Strikingly observant and curiously drawn, Lee departs from her experimental style to create a naturalistic observation of the most socially unobstructed of our species, the straight white male.
Young Jean Lee has been hailed as "one of the best experimental playwrights in America" by Time Out New York. She has written and directed nine shows in New York with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company and toured her work to over twenty cities around the world. Her other plays include We're Gonna Die, Untitled Feminist Show, The Shipment, Lear and Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven. Awards include two Obies, the Festival Prize of the Zuercher Theater Spektakel, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Doris Duke Artist Award.
About the Author
Young Jean Lee is a writer, director, and filmmaker who has been called "the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation" by the New York Times and "one of the best experimental playwrights in America" by Time Out New York. She has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. Her plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service, Theatre Communications Group, and by Samuel French. She is currently under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and has written a screenplay commission for Plan B/Paramount Pictures. Her first short film, "Here Come the Girls," was presented at the Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest. In 2013, she released her debut album, "We're Gonna Die," with her band, Future Wife. Lee is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN Literary Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Doris Duke Artist Residency, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, and the ZKB Patronage Prize of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel. She has also received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Creative Capital, the Greenwall Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Arts Presenters/Ford Foundation Creative Capacity Grant, the Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts National Theater Project Award.
“The signal surprise of STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, written by the ever-audacious Young Jean Lee, is that the play is not a full-frontal assault on the beings of the title…Ms. Lee’s fascinating play goes far beyond cheap satire, ultimately becoming a compassionate and stimulating exploration of one man’s existential crisis. Believe it or not, Ms. Lee wants us to sympathize with the inexpressible anguish of her protagonist, a middle-aged, upper-middle-class straight white man…[A] mournful and inquisitive play…” —The New York Times.
“A prime example of dramaturgical normcore—that is, experimental plays dressing up like fourth-wall family dramas—[STRAIGHT WHITE MEN] tickles your soft aesthetic underbelly, before easing in the knife of reality…If Lee wants to dissect the conscience of our society’s most visible and powerful population, what better mode than living-room realism, sadly, our default theatrical setting? …However, if you expect deconstruction-prone Lee to break down this form through surreal flourishes or screwing with the frame, you may be surprised. Most shocking is the absence of shock. She’s too good a writer for the drama not to work on its own terms, and as such, the result is both emotionally satisfying…and unflinching in its critique of white-driven social justice.” —Time Out NY.
“To cut to the obvious, STRAIGHT WHITE MEN is a loaded title…But the play turns out to have a disarming gentleness to it. Lee has more sympathy for her subject than scorn…STRAIGHT WHITE MEN is a family drama that on the surface looks fairly standard, but the play transcends psychological realism. Lee is wrestling with the meaning of straight white male privilege through characters who are self-conscious beneficiaries of an identity increasingly out of favor in 21st century America yet still, like it or not, in control.” —Los Angeles Times.