Yangtze Repertory Theatre's production tells a story of a gay Chinese man who comes back home to Hawaii and begins a journey of reconciliation between his chosen identity and the heritage he left behind.
His week-long stay opens wounds with his father and sister that never healed, aggravating Don’s struggle to find love and belonging in his life. "June is the First Fall" asks: what compels people to cross mountains and seas to another country, another continent, and another culture to find their true selves? What are the journeys we take to find home and belonging?
“While the role of Asian culture is certainly present in this play, the theme that lies at the core of the plot is the complex emotions and strong tensions that many parents and their LGBTQ children face even to this day. That’s something that...is explored in-depth and on a very human level in this play...The ensemble of actors do a flawless job bringing these emotionally and psychologically complex characters to life...A strong contender for the best play I’ve seen so far in 2019.” Full Review
“Written with sensitivity toward all its players, the piece offers a compassionate window into the intersection of Chinese culture, queerness, and gender roles...’June is the First Fall’ is a tight, compact evening of drama. Gut-wrenching moments spill out at the end...Though the exploding catharsis feels somewhat disconnected from its rather clean resolution, it also does achieve satisfaction through its crumbles of drama.” Full Review
"Exceptional among all the cast was Chun Cho playing the mother Yu Qin. Every time she appeared, magic happened. All her lines were delivered in Chinese which made her scenes musical and ethereal. The climactic scene which revealed the heart of the story was in both Chinese and English. It seemed a poignant dance that was breathtaking and beautifully directed by Michael Leibenluft. A worthy play that addresses immigrant, LGBTQ and cultural issues." Full Review
“Memories are scattered throughout this endearing study of culture, family and personal growth...While the situations explored in this play are not unique, the relaxed pace gives this material a fresh smell...A good cast of actors...’June is the First Fall’ addresses the ghosts of the past which linger in our heads...Well directed by Leibenluft, this story is smoothly paced to unravel this family’s secrets and hopes and learnings.” Full Review
"Going to the West Village to see a show touted as 'a queer play about mooncakes' has all the promise in the world, but this one falls short on ingenuity... As Don tries to reconcile his culture with his identity, he's increasingly squelched by the island (resulting in increasing whining)... I could do with fewer by-the-numbers lines…The scenes that feel the richest involve the whole family sharing anecdotes about Chinese traditions…It's our familiar stories that connect us." Full Review
See it if You like shows that talk about profound topics like self-acceptance and cultural identity but are presented in a delightful way.
Don't see it if You are not interested in the internal struggles of minorities no matter if they are white, yellow, or gay.
See it if you like intimate setting/venue/staging that puts you close & almost personal for effective theater/drama immersion. Family drama w/ a heart
Don't see it if you want a feel-good play/musical- as this will bring you to dark emotions of despair, longing, heartache, regret- as well delivered by cast
See it if like layered, emotional family dramas or memory plays well staged, acted, and designed. Many of the scenes have a beautiful sadness to them.
Don't see it if you don't like LGBT themes.
See it if You like stories about race and sexual orientation. You enjoy plays that have realistic and difficult dialogue. I really loved this show.
Don't see it if You don't want to watch tense moments on stage.
See it if Family values are under attack when you don’t know how to cope or conform. Quite moving performance with many complex cultural issues
Don't see it if Snippy sarcastic humor with slightly awkward chemistry between the actors.
See it if You’re into LGBTQ theme or American immigrant stories; esp. relatable to Chinese in America; great set design;
Don't see it if Unbalanced acting.. the father-son relationship looks a bit superficial; some actor aims for laughter and misses the subtlety between lines
See it if Interested in Chinese-American playwright, support Asian artists, enjoy gay stories with family secrets & tropical setting
Don't see it if don't like plays with gay characters or family struggles involving gay issues, don't like 'coming home after many years' plots
See it if Beautifully interwoven themes of estrangement, identity, culture & family. A modern take on the son who leaves home and later returns.
Don't see it if You won't enjoy a complex family drama about people trying to get to know each other in ways they could not when they were younger.
See it if You want a private view of a family blown depart by the death of the matriarch. Very compelling side stories that come together.
Don't see it if You are looking for a light and breezy evening.
See it if you are interested in issues of identity across generations, immigrant narratives, gentle and thoughtful explorations of changing memory
Don't see it if you can't sit through 90 minutes without intermission
See it if you like family drama set in current times with current issues, well acted on an impressive set with some humor, good lighting and sound.
Don't see it if you have no appreciation for other cultural differences or family dynamics.
See it if You want to see a play that deal with lgbt, family dynamics, emotional dialogue wt parents, flashback wt memories of the past unraveled
Don't see it if You have no interest in gay community, dont care about Chinese Culture, family drama, estrangement from family. Dont like small venues
See it if Liu's coming-out drama as much about cultural identity as about queerness Well acted by ensemble despite author's lean towards cliche Set A+
Don't see it if Scenes tend to be slighty overwritten giving piece an unwanted slowness "Ghost" mother as catalyst underused Fervent tone throughout helps
See it if you want to explore conflict of stereotypical young gay urban male lifestyle with first gen Chinese immigrant low middle class family values
Don't see it if you cringe at gay male humor, imagery, and contact and trite coming out stories, or do not care about immigrant Chinese American experiences
See it if You want to see some good acting about a family dealing with both the death of the matriarch and the acceptance of a gay son.
Don't see it if You may not enjoy a different culture's reaction to issues of acceptance of a gay son. You are expecting a happy ending with problem solved.
See it if Interested in gay acceptance stories (or lack thereof) within a family/culture that struggles with it. About family dynamics/understanding.
Don't see it if Want satisfying resolution to disparate story threads. This feels like the writer is still working thru a personal drama of their own.
See it if you are interested in a story about a young gay man's coming to terms with his traditional Chinese family's acceptance.
Don't see it if you are looking for an engaging play with an original perspective.
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