This article was originally published in Mochi Magazine.
Jiehae Park’s “peerless” Gives Macbeth a Satirical Asian American Twist, Oct. 16, 2022
Of the countless adaptations of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” Jiehae Park’s “peerless” may be its quirkiest and most “woke” version yet. In early October, Mochi Mag’s NYC team — myself, Art Director Dani Kau, and staff writers Kai Xing Mun and Christina Poulin — was invited to an early performance of the Off-Broadway play at 59E59 Theaters, and we were truly in for a treat from start to finish. We laughed, we cringed, we gasped, and we (well, I) may have even shed a tear or two as the chaotic dark comedy turned into a sobering sociopolitical satire.
Written by Jiehae Park and directed by Margot Bordelon, “peerless” transports Macbeth’s fight for the Scottish throne (and eventual descent into murderous madness) to a high school in a nameless American suburb. The throne? Admission into an elite university, where only one minority student from the high school can be chosen. Macbeth and ambitious Lady Macbeth are replaced by Asian American twins, M (Sasha Diamond) and L (Shannon Tyo), who must plot desperately to ensure their future. What ensues is a biting satire of the scarcity mindset, and what happens when the cutthroat institutions built by white hegemony pits marginalized communities against each other. The play explores everything from affirmative action to fatphobia, casual racism, and the fetishization of Asian women. Whether you’re familiar with the source text or not, “peerless” stands on its own as a brilliant original production worth the watch.
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Image Credit: James Leynse