Jessica Huang

Jessica Huang

I am a multiracial playwright, MacDowell Fellow and two-time Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow. My plays are highly theatrical, inventive and spectacular, telling stories of mixed-race Asian American women, non-native English speaking immigrants, beings of light, ancestral ghosts, and pieces of jade. Through heightened theatricality and a permeable reality, I tell stories of the political made personal....
I am a multiracial playwright, MacDowell Fellow and two-time Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow. My plays are highly theatrical, inventive and spectacular, telling stories of mixed-race Asian American women, non-native English speaking immigrants, beings of light, ancestral ghosts, and pieces of jade. Through heightened theatricality and a permeable reality, I tell stories of the political made personal.

In my play THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN, I explore xenophobia in America through the literal and figurative haunting of Harry Chin, a real person who immigrated during the era of Chinese Exclusion and built a life in Minnesota. In PURPLE CLOUD, I give voice to a young hapa (mixed-race Asian) woman who searches for her true name as she is guided by four jade pieces on a mythical journey from Minnesota to China and back again. ZERO-INFINITY FLIGHT PATH takes audiences on a difficult journey up a strange mountain, rife with crises of doubt and questions of free will. OF MILK AND MIRRORS, an Atlantic Theater commissioned one-act, examines love by putting my real-life marriage on stage – and toys with truth by transforming the character of my husband into seven others (including writer Jorge Luis Borges and philosopher Alexius Meinong). TRANSMISSIONS IN ADVANCE OF THE SECOND GREAT DYING, a new commission I am working on with Mixed Blood Theatre, considers global warming through the lens of grief and tells an epic story that spans 300 million years.

I co-founded and co-direct Other Tiger Productions, a theatrical production company with a mission to pursue multidisciplinary collaborations, intentional inclusivity and a re-examination of traditional theater practices. My work has been developed and/or produced in the Twin Cities by Mu Performing Arts, History Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Museum of American Art; nationally by Timeline Theatre Company (Chicago), A-Squared Theatre Workshop (Chicago), Atlantic Theatre Company (NYC), 2nd Generation (NYC), Leviathan Labs (NYC), the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (D.C.), the Source Festival (D.C.), and internationally by Yellow Earth's Typhoon Festival (London).

I am a recipient of a 2018 Macdowell Fellowship; 2017-18 Jerome Travel/Study grant; a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership grant; a 2014 MRAC/McKnight Next Step grant, a 2011-12 Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship, and back-to-back Jerome Fellowships (2016-17 & 2017-18). I am a member of the Dramatist Guild and an affiliated writer with The Playwrights’ Center.

Plays

  • 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.”

  • Purple Cloud
    When you’re hapa, you know deep down you’re greater than the sum of your many parts. In Purple Cloud, three generations of Huangs deal with the multifacets of their multiracial identities as – accompanied by four Jade Pieces – they embark on a mythical journey from China to Minnesota and back again. Through three intertwining stories, the Huang family acculturates: Grandpa Lee emigrates from Shanghai to America...
    When you’re hapa, you know deep down you’re greater than the sum of your many parts. In Purple Cloud, three generations of Huangs deal with the multifacets of their multiracial identities as – accompanied by four Jade Pieces – they embark on a mythical journey from China to Minnesota and back again. Through three intertwining stories, the Huang family acculturates: Grandpa Lee emigrates from Shanghai to America during the Sino-Japanese War; his son Orville deals with his confusion as a first generation Asian American; and his granddaughter fights for her Chinese-ness through the search for her true name.
  • Of Milk and Mirrors...
    A play about love that puts my real-life marriage on stage – and a play about truth that transforms the character of my husband into seven others (including writer Jorge Luis Borges and philosopher Alexius Meinong).
  • Zero-Infinity Flight Path
    Zero-Infinity Flight Path begins at the end of a journey to the top of a mysterious mountain. There, an ominous sacrifice will be performed for the salvation of humanity. The mission’s success lies in the hands of one young Girl, gifted with visions and a prophetic tongue. When after days of travel, the mountain’s summit finally appears, the Girl erupts with new language - language that seems in direct...
    Zero-Infinity Flight Path begins at the end of a journey to the top of a mysterious mountain. There, an ominous sacrifice will be performed for the salvation of humanity. The mission’s success lies in the hands of one young Girl, gifted with visions and a prophetic tongue. When after days of travel, the mountain’s summit finally appears, the Girl erupts with new language - language that seems in direct opposition to the task at hand. The rest of the party must contend with crises of doubt, questions of free will, and a dawning realization of who sacrifices what for whom.
  • Mermaids
    Cecilia and Don struggle to find hope and faith between the waves as the tide rolls into a rainy New England beach.
  • A Unicorn on 7th and Nicollet
    Paying homage to Mary Tyler Moore is like honoring a unicorn, according to a professor at Macalester College. Well fine. A Unicorn on 7th and Nicollet shows just what it takes to turn the world on with a smile. And it’s not particularly happy about it.