Howdy all! Welcome back to our site and welcome back especially to Monologue Monday. This week takes us to legendary playwright David Henry Hwang‘s FOB. The play premiered in 1980 when Hwang was only 22. It featured John Lone and Tzi Ma, among others and was directed by Mako.
Here is the synopsis straight from stageagent.com:
“F.O.B. (fresh off the boat) is another of David Henry Hwang’s explorations of what it is like to be Chinese in America. Dale is second-generation Chinese and very Americanized. He introduces the notion of F.O.B. to the audience in a monologue, mocking new Chinese immigrants for their pitiful attempts at assimilation while refusing to give up their traditional ways. Grace, his cousin, is first-generation, although she has been in America for a while. She is more Chinese in that she maintains many traditional customs, unlike Dale. Their relationship is upset by the arrival of Steve, a wealthy, arrogant new immigrant. Dale and Grace both resent his arrogance but react to it differently. Dale becomes competitive with Steve, while Grace uses traditional Chinese culture to win him over. In the end, Steve and Grace leave together, and Dale is alone, still resenting the F.O.B.’s. In the middle section of the play, Hwang has the characters play out their roles through Chinese myth.”
As you can see, Hwang uses culture as conflict, pitting a Chinese American guy (Dale) born and raised in the US against Grace (part of the 1.5 generation) and Steve, someone who just showed up, fresh off the boat.
It might be worth exploring why these three should be in conflict anyways. I guess a play without conflict would be boring.
The play provides strong roles for three Asian American actors.
For our first monologue, Dale will explain some things.
And now it’s Grace’s turn to complain about Torrance. And talking about the wonders of bleach. Loneliness. And other stuff.
That’s it for this edition of Monologue Monday. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for an uknown playwright and next Monday for a new monologue.
For a complete list of Monologue Mondays, please stop by here.