The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Yankee Dawg You Die begins and ends with Vincent Chang and Bradley Yamashita, two Asian American actors of different generations, in a private conversation on the balcony of a Hollywood Hills home while an entertainment industry party takes place inside. Nine scenes in two acts reveal one year of their relationship during which they move from initially feeling their differences acutely to their growing awareness of their similarities as actors, as American-born men of Japanese descent, and as humans full of powerful ambitions and abiding insecurities.

In the first scene the two men are strangers isolated on the balcony just as they are marginalized in the entertainment industry. Although allied by gender, profession, and dreams of success in the star system, they are divided by age, work experience, historical circumstance, and personal competitiveness. Meeting in auditions and in acting classes in the months that follow, Vincent and Bradley discuss their careers, the limited and stereotypical roles available to them, and their frustrations, accomplishments, and strategies for success. They learn each other’s life secrets and, through conversations that often move in rhythms of revelation, insult, and apology, develop a bond of respect and affection. Woven into their conversations are dreamlike interludes that represent their inner feelings and their past and present roles in film and theater.

In the five scenes of act 1, the established star, Vincent Chang, reveals details of his decades-long career as a Hollywood...

(The entire section is 633 words.)