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Philip Kan Gotanda at San Francisco Public Library

March 9, 2007

Next Wednesday evening, March 14, at 6.30pm, playwright Philip Kan Gotanda and I will be "in conversation" at the main branch of San Francisco Public Library. We'll be talking about the challenges of producing new work, how a play changes from page to stage, and the inspiration for Gotanda's new drama After the War, which receives its world premiere later this month at A.C.T.

I'm excited about having the opportunity of leading this discussion with Gotanda. I've enjoyed his plays in the past, but I fell head over heels in love with the dramatist's way of looking at the world and sense of voice when I watched Danny Wolohan perform the role of a privileged white frat boy with a thing for "Asian chicks" in Gotanda's one-act "White Manifesto", produced a couple of years ago in a double-bill of Gotanda's plays by the Asian American Theatre Company.

It's flattering to have been invited by A.C.T. to lead this discussion. But it's a curious thing too, since the invitation comes hard on the heels of a particularly lacerating review I wrote about the company's current production of Hedda Gabler. And it's not like I've been very warm about A.C.T.'s work on the whole since starting my tenure at SF Weekly. Hmm. Well, as Sun-Tzu said: "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

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