Playwright David Henry Hwang examines culture and politics in ‘Soft Power’

China 24

China’s growing influence and the state of American politics are providing the backdrop for a new production called “Soft Power”.

It comes from the mind of playwright David Henry Hwang. He’s the first Asian-American to win a Tony award.

CGTN’s May Lee spoke to him about the show and his prolific career.

Hwang has always questioned the idea of identity and belonging in his work, because it’s personal.

As a Chinese American, Hwang at times felt like an outsider. His latest play, “Soft Power” examines that and several other complex issues. It combines his own story of being a successful Asian American playwright, with U.S. politics and China’s growing global influence. “Soft Power” is bold and ambitious.

Hwang wrote himself as a main character of the play. In the story, he is asked to write a Broadway show from a Chinese perspective. It’s something that brings into question his own identity and sense of belonging.

In the play, David has a vision of a new world order following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In it, China has become the undisputed global superpower and America has declined into chaos. The vision comes after David is stabbed in the neck by a stranger severing his vertebral artery, something that actually happened to Hwang in 2015 in New York.

Hwang is focusing on producing more work that reflects the world around using both its darkness and light.

Playwright David Henry Hwang explores Chinese race, identity in decades log career