M. Butterfly | Court Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

M. Butterfly Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through June 8 2014

Playwright David Henry Hwang provides ample reasons to dislike his 1988 Tony-winning smash, M. Butterfly. Director Charles Newell, in his confused, miscast revival for Court Theatre, provides a few more. Hwang's play, based on a true story, focuses on former French diplomat Rene Gallimard, rotting in a Paris prison and reliving his long, scandalous affair with Song Liling—aka Butterfly—a Peking opera star and cross-dressing spy who uses her intimacy with Gallimard to gather inside information about America's involvement in Vietnam for her Chinese Communist handlers. The affair allows Gallimard, long lacking in masculine oomph, to discover his inner cad, a liberating move he lives to regret. It also lets Hwang pound everything into a neat schema: men dominate and misunderstand women in the same way the West dominates and misunderstands the East. After demonstrating his thesis ad nauseam in two long, inefficient acts, he puts Butterfly on trial in act three so she can reiterate it explicitly. "The West thinks of itself as masculine—big guns, big industry, big money—so the East is feminine," she says, now dressed as a man. "The West believes the East, deep down, wants to be dominated—because a woman can't think for herself." Got it. Continue reading >>

Price: $45-$65

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