I recently had the pleasure of being asked to audition for Chicago's acclaimed Goodman Theatre for their upcoming workshop production of The World of Extreme Happiness by Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig. It's part of their New Stages Amplified festival of new plays program. I had auditioned at the Goodman for their generals a couple of times, but this was the first time I was being brought in for something specific. The script is simply amazing: a stark, emotionally wrenching story of a girl from rural China who makes the journey to the city to seek her fortune as a factory worker. It's the first play I've ever read that deals with the dark underbelly of China's newfound economic success (I enjoyed David Henry Hwang's Chinglish,, but that dealt more with people at the managerial level, and focused on U.S.-China relations.). This is one play that I truly hope receives a full production some day. And regardless if I get a chance to be part of its development, I'm going to push folks to check it out.
The play's characters are all Chinese, and it was refreshing to see that the Goodman was aiming to aim for a fully Asian cast. It's been a few weeks since the initial auditions and callbacks. No word, though two of the female roles have been set. Given that the Asian American acting community in Chicago is small, there's definitely been chatter amongst its members speculating on who might get what. Some actresses already received release notices, but I haven't heard anything from my agent (or the grapevine) so I have my fingers crossed. That being said, I'm just glad I made callbacks, and given that the competition includes some very talented folks, I'd be honored to lose out to such esteemed company.