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This edition of Asian American Drama contains 252 plays by 42 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. Some 50% of these plays have never been published before. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays.
In the late nineteenth century, when Asian American drama made its debut, the spotlight was firmly on the lives and struggles of Asians in North America, rather than on the cultures and traditions of the Asian homeland. Today, Asian American playwrights continue to challenge established theatrical conventions by calling attention to issues and experiences that might otherwise be ignored or marginalized.
The plays have relevance well beyond the study of literature, drama, and Asian American studies. They present views of important historical events, such as the construction of the railroads in the nineteenth century, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Vietnam conflict. The plays also address sociological issues, such as assimilation, integration, cultural identity in a Western context, and the effect of Western religion.