Butterfly in Blue Jeans
Butterfly in Blue Jeans is a new East Asian play by author/ playwright Yang-May Ooi (Bound Feet Blues) being developed in collaboration with actor Julie Cheung-Inhin (No More Lotus Flower!), inspired by Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Puccini’s classic opera about an East Asian woman’s experience, mediated via a Western male composer around 1900, has shaped the perception and portrayal of East Asian women in Western culture for over 100 years and continues to do so.
Butterfly in Blue Jeans re-imagines Madama Butterfly from a modern East Asian woman’s perspective.
Our aim is to reclaim the portrayal of this one East Asian woman and in so doing challenge the Western portrayal and expectations of East Asian women in the arts but also in life. Through this play, we hope to enable Butterfly to speak unmediated for herself.
Butterfly in Blue Jeans is inspired by Madama Butterfly but is not a re-telling of it. The play will examine the story of a contemporary East Asian woman and White man against the backdrop of current East/ West relationships – the rise of China and its economic interests in the UK – and explores power, gender and race as played out in a personal relationship and at a wider cultural level in a modern global context.
Butterfly in Blue Jeans will be developed during Jan to July 2017 through workshopping with Julie and other actors and a director to inform Yang-May’s writing of the play. At the end of this process, a staged reading of the play will take place at the Cross Drifts Arts Festival (formerly South East Asian Arts Festival) in London during July/ August 2017. The reading will be followed by a Q&A with Yang-May, Julie and the director (chair to be confirmed).
Butterfly in Blue Jeans is the first in a planned trilogy of plays by Yang-May Ooi, inspired by the “Doomed Diva” trio of operas, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata and Carmen. We hope that the success of this first play will enable us to develop the two further plays, at the moment tentatively entitled Taiping Traviata and Carmen Chong.
Read Our Blog
You can follow our progress via our Blog as we develop Butterfly in Blue Jeans. We will also be blogging on the themes and issues behind the play and sharing stories and photos from our creative journey.