Playwright Chloè Hung

How would you describe your writing style or “voice?” 
I write drama with a comedic edge. I write about human fallibility. I am attracted to stories about women—in particular women of color. I love to write about memory and legacy. I write stories where people find their strength in unexpected ways. I write stories where everyone is a little right and a little wrong—it’s true to real life insofar as people are complicated and their opinions are so much more influenced by emotion than facts.

What drew you to playwriting? 
When I was a kid I thought that I would be a novelist. I have always loved telling stories. In high school, I was painfully shy but a drama teacher encouraged me to continue studying drama. I found disappearing into a character and into a story helped build my confidence in the real world. Playwriting was then a natural transition that merged my love of storytelling with theatre. Theatre allows for our imaginations to soar in a way that they can’t on screen. When a theatre audience enters the space, you enter into a kind of social contract: they will suspend their disbelief to a certain extent so long as you tell them a compelling and emotionally resonate story. So long as you hold to that contract, you can take the audience anywhere and show them anything—I find that truly exciting.

Chloè’s writing space.

Tell us about where you like to write.
Being close to a TV and a kitchen is a gift and a curse. I like writing at a table where I can spread out. I usually have a copy of the play next to me, whether I look at it or not. When I’m feeling lazy I move to the couch.

Why this play? 
This play examines something that exists in every community and is always swept under the rug: domestic violence and the cycle of abuse. This play is also about legacy and how your actions affect the next generation. We’ve seen similar themes in works by white writers—in particular white male writers—about white families. For Asian communities, domestic violence is extremely pervasive and is never discussed. I wanted to take a look at this topic from the point of view of three Chinese women. I also wanted to show a different side of Chinese women that we don’t often see on stage or in the media but are the women I have grown up with—fierce, funny, and fallible.

Describe Three Women of Swatow in three words.
A bloody mess

Chloé Hung’s Three Woman of Swatow will be presented in Artists at Play Readings on Saturday, April 28 at 12pm.

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