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M. Butterfly

M. Butterfly

Play


Writers:
  • bernard boursicot
  • shi pei pu
  • puccini
  • china
  • opera
  • gender
  • orientalism
  • drama desk award
  • tony award
  • espionage
  • asian
  • chinese
  • french


Overview


Synopsis

M. Butterfly tells the story of a French diplomat posted in China, Rene Gallimard, who is brought to ruin and, eventually ,convicted for espionage, after a twenty-year affair with a Beijing Opera diva. The diva, citing her Chinese modesty, manages to never appear naked in front of Gallimard. Thus, not only had Gallimard failed to recognize that this lover was a spy; he'd also failed to recognize that "she" was,in fact a he. The singer spies on Gallimard for the Chinese government, using Gallimard's own fantasies of submissive oriental femininity to deceive and manipulate him. Loosely based on the real-life relationship between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and male Peking opera singer Shi Pei Pu, David Henry Hwang's award-winning drama also draws inspiration from Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly.


Characters

Male

Lead

Spoken

Male

Lead

Spoken

Male

Supporting

Spoken



Show Information

Based On Book By:
Category
Play
Number of Acts:
3 Acts
Tony Award ®
Best Play 1988
First Produced:
1988
Genres
Drama
Time & Place
china, paris
Cast Size
medium
Casting Notes:
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, young adult, mature adult, late teen characters
Tags:
  • bernard boursicot
  • shi pei pu
  • puccini
  • china
  • opera
  • gender
  • orientalism
  • drama desk award
  • tony award
  • espionage
  • asian
  • chinese
  • french

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