David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly
Sure, they say that love is blind, but you really gotta wonder sometimes.
Sure, they say that love is blind, but you really gotta wonder sometimes. In this Tony Award-winning riff on both Puccini’s tragic opera Madama Butterfly and a real-life twisted romance, playwright Hwang structures the story of Rene Gallimard so it unfolds in flashback. The French functionary is posted to the embassy in China during that nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War. There he falls for an opera diva, Song Liling, little realizing his lover is actually a spy for the Chinese government — and, as is traditional in Chinese opera, also a man. Led astray by Song, Rene encourages the French to act on false information about the war and is sent home in disgrace. Song follows him to France where, unbelievably, they live together for 20 years before Rene’s treason — and his lover’s true gender — is discovered. John Lithgow and B.D. Wong reprise their original roles from the production, joined by comedian Margaret Cho as Song’s cynical Chinese comrade.