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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

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