THE WASH: A Traditional Ethnic Play in The Mainstream Arena
Keywords:The Wash, Ethnic Theatre, Japanese American Experience, Philip Kan Gotanda
The Wash is considered the third part of Philip Kan Gotanda’s family trilogy alongside with A Song for a Nisei Fisherman and Fish Head Soup. This series represents his sincere attempt to discover and truly depict the Japanese American family, as well as to delve deeper and deeper into it. The idea of the play is mainly driven from two real-life stories. The first is about a friend whose elderly nisei mother has left her father and begins a new relationship, but this story did not spread in the Japanese American community. The second is about a writer whose ex-husband still comes to cut her garden even after the divorce. And both stories represent the old traditions in this community, which Gotanda himself tries to expose and criticize at the same time. Gotanda uses this play to push the restrictions of his ethnic community to be familiar in the mainstream arena.
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