Editor's Note: As part of CultureMap's State of the Arts series, we are highlighting upcoming arts events you won't want to miss. While concentrating on fall, there are some spring events our contributors believe are worth noting now.
Never underestimate the energy of a new theater group, especially when it comes to Houston, a place that literally spawns new theater companies all the time. The two-year old Black Lab Theatre is presenting the Houston premiere of the Broadway hit Chinglish by Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) in collaboration with Asia Society Texas Center on May 9-26, 2013, at Asia Society's Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater.
"Younger people want to see plays that are politically relevant and socially conscious," says Jordan Jaffe, Black Lab's artistic director.
It's always impressive when a small theater company tackles a big play.
Chinglish chronicles the transcultural challenges of Americans doing business in China. Differences in language, customs and manners make for one riveting comedy. Misunderstanding each other is rarely this much fun. A public program with Hwang is also in the planning stages.
"Younger people want to see plays that are politically relevant and socially conscious," says Jordan Jaffe, Black Lab's artistic director. "Houston's theatre scene has primarily catered to families and older audiences. Black Lab Theatre aspires to be the hip and controversial theatre of Houston to keep the city and Houstonians connected culturally with other cities across the U.S."
Chinglish closes Black Lab's second season, which also includes Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's apocalyptic comedy Boom and Jeff Talbott's drama The Submission.
"This season we have a play about 2012 and the end of the world, which is a popular cultural topic among people of my generation," says Jaffe. "The Submission is a play about people at an early stage in their career and how the difficulties of gender and racial politics can effect those careers and their relationships with each other. Another big phenomenon affecting our generation is globalization and the rise of China and no better play addresses that topic than the comedy Chinglish."
David Henry Hwang discusses Chinglish: