Review: M. Butterfly – The Spy Whose Desires Turned Him Inside Out (At ArtsWest now through February 17)
Review by guest blogger Joy Shumaker:
ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery has brought us many fantastic productions. M. Butterfly is definitely another one to add to the list.
It’s not every day that we get to see the internal dialogue of a complete mindset shifting. Especially because that can often take a lifetime. David Quicksall plays the main character Rene Gallimard and captures the essence of a man uncomfortable with his own feelings. Taking the audience down his recollection of how he went from a lovely harmless perch in the world to delving into his fantasies, embracing them haphazardly, and eventually losing everything to love. Tom Dang plays supporting role Song Liling and give a lovely performance. They playfully highlight the gender roles, stereotypes, and show us how we like the blinders we keep on.
I love the contemplation throughout this piece. The unusual tone feels more authentic to the entanglements that emerge.
For an evening of unique examinations, M. Butterfly will not disappoint. Note: this production features nudity and graphic language. M. Butterfly plays ArtsWest in West Seattle, now through February 17. Tickets here
Award-winning actor, writer, and director, Kathy Hsieh writes “5 Reasons to see M. Butterfly” here
“With M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang joins the first string of American playwrights. This is an audaciously imaginative play, big in conception and theme, and a satisfying instance of a talented writer hitting full stride.” —Variety
“It will move you, it will thrill you, it may even surprise you. It is a play not to be missed, and it is a play once caught that will never be forgotten.” —NY Post
Photo: David Quicksall and Tom Dang. Photo by John McLellan