Playwright Young Jean Lee's scathing wordplay has earned her a cult following in the downtown New York arts scene, but none of her plays have been produced here - until Crowded Fire and Asian American Theater Company got their collective mitts on Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven. Now Lee's oft-praised ode to race relations - complete with dancing and violent pummeling - is set to leach the life blood from the tender, seeping hearts of local liberals.
If Quentin Tarantino sent four Korean women on a whacked-out odyssey designed to make the audience choke and squirm, it might look something like Songs of the Dragons. But when it comes to eviscerating conventional stereotypes with perverse humor and a delightfully stubborn refusal to sugarcoat, Lee is in her own class.
Named "one of the 25 artists who will shape the American theater over the next 25 years" by American Theatre Magazine and called "one of the best experimental playwrights in America," by Time out New York, Lee is collecting accolades and awards so fast that our kids will probably be reading her work twenty years from now. Which may give you a few preemptively uncomfortable parental moments as the theatrical mayhem unfolds before you, because irreverent does not begin to approach what goes on in Lee's creation - fierce, shocking, and wrongly hilarious hit closer.
March 24-April 16. Thick House, 1695 18th Street. Tickets are $15-25 at asianamericantheater.org.