(The following interview with Young Jean Lee by Ariel Ramchandani appeared on The Economist Blog 6/4.)
I saw Young Jean Lee's "The Shipment" at the Kitchen in New York City in January, three days after Barack Obama was inaugurated. I went to bed thinking about it, woke up thinking about it. The play, a variety show of sorts, probes at the blister of race relations through multiple theatrical constructs: a stand-up comedy act, a song and dance number, a cartoonish rags to riches story and a naturalistic drawing room number with an uncomfortable punchline. Lee, a Korean-American writer, is quite the puppeteer, and she uses an extremely talented cast to assault us, making us laugh (sometimes complicitly, sometimes not), then wince, and recognise our own racist tendencies.
Here Lee talks about taking the show to Europe (its just completed the first leg of a European tour in Brussels), asking the right questions, and white guilt . . .
(Young Jean Lee's work appears in the Applause Cinema and Theatre Books One On One: The Best Women's Monologues for the 21st Century and the August release Duo! The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century.)