The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin

During the Chinese Exclusion Act, Harry Chin, a Chinese national, entered the U.S. by buying forged documentation. Like other “Paper Sons,” Harry underwent a brutal detention and interrogation, and lived the rest of his life keeping secrets – even from his daughter. Told through the eyes of a middle-aged Chin, THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN reveals the complicated loves and regrets of this Chinese immigrant who...
During the Chinese Exclusion Act, Harry Chin, a Chinese national, entered the U.S. by buying forged documentation. Like other “Paper Sons,” Harry underwent a brutal detention and interrogation, and lived the rest of his life keeping secrets – even from his daughter. Told through the eyes of a middle-aged Chin, THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN reveals the complicated loves and regrets of this Chinese immigrant who wound up in Minnesota. Through dreamlike leaps of time and space and with the powerful assistance of ghosts, the story of the Chin family reveals the personal and political repercussions of making group of people “illegal.”

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The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin

Recommended by

  • Katherine Gwynn:
    5 Jun. 2018
    A new American fable about identity, names, and the ghosts that stay with us--a simply gorgeous and deeply moving play.
  • Matt Minnicino:
    3 Jun. 2018
    After a reading of this play, I was drunk on the world Jessica creates to sustain the considerable radius of her ideas, themes, the empathy she has for her characters. This story creates a community in its audience, swept along in a narrative that manages to be an education, a ghost story, a history lesson, a family drama, a generational parable, and a sneakily raucous comedy when it wants to be. It's drawn sensitively but without sentiment, magically without being twee or oblique. It's a miraculous thing and I'm thrilled to see it widely produced, as it surely will be.
  • Paul Vintner:
    31 May. 2018
    Reminiscent of the works of the magnificent David Henry Hwang, this play takes its audience on a journey that feels as harrowing as Cheung Yu's, yet we only get a glimpse of it. Gripping, inventive, and cathartic.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    TimeLine Theatre
    ,
    2017
  • Workshop
    ,
    History Theatre
    ,
    2016
  • Commission
    ,
    History Theatre
    ,
    2015
  • Reading
    ,
    History Theatre
    ,
    2015

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    History Theatre
    ,
    2017

Awards

Kilroy List
,
2017
Nominee - Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
,
2017
Best of the Week
,
Minneapolis Star Tribune
,
2017