Young Jean Lee Mar 9, 2008

by Tania Kupczak

Young Jean Lee's show is the most pleasurable thing I've seen at On the Boards all season. It was a hilarious treatise of love and self-hate as she looks at what it means for her to be an Asian woman. She toys with uncomfortably racist protrayals of traditional Korean women and scenes mocking white people's relationships, juxtaposed with moments acknowledging that she wants to be white, followed by direct threats that minorities hate white people and will one day reign supreme. I imagine she meant for our laughter to be uncomfortable, but it was so honest and refreshing, I found myself laughing freely thinking, "yes, yes! Be honest, tell me more!" The way she discussed both loving and hating what you are and who you are made the show's themes feel very universal, moving far beyond a simple portrait of "what it means to be an Asian American woman." For me, the most powerful take away from the show was this: you can try to attack and disempower the parts of your past that you hate by mocking them, but it will always come back to beat you up. Sometimes, as she demonstates in two moments at the top of the show, literally.

- Rachel Hynes