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THEATER REVIEW; Yew's 'Whitelands': Where Culture, Personality Meet
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Shirley, Don
Date: Mar 20, 1996
Start Page: 1
Section: Calendar; PART-F; Entertainment Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

"Porcelain" comes first. It's the story of John (Alec Mapa, baby-faced and magnetic), 19-year-old son of a Chinese restaurant owner (Tom Donaldson) in London. John won't study at Cambridge in the fall as planned. He's in prison, charged with murdering his lover, William Hope (Thomas Weber), a 26-year-old white man, in a public lavatory.

John is guilty--the only question is why he did it. As a court-appointed psychiatrist (Tom Jameson) interviews the prisoner--and is questioned in turn by a sleazy television producer (Phil Oakley)--the answer comes out. A sense of racial isolation drove John to seek sex in the colorblind world of the public toilets. But the men there often are ashamed of being gay. When Hope briefly appeared to take John seriously, it obviously wouldn't last. John couldn't accept this.

John seems unrealistically alone, as if there isn't another gay Asian man around. Yew remedied this in "A Language of Their Own," although the scene shifts to Boston from England. At first, two Chinese American men--Oscar (Steve Park) and Ming (Eric Steinberg)--narrate and discuss their romance: from breakup back to the beginning, then back to the breakup and beyond. Later, Oscar finds new love with Daniel (Radmar Agana Jao), a Filipino student, while Ming moves to Venice, Calif., with his new flame, Robert (Ben Shepard), who is white.

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