Emory prides itself in its theatrical production opportunities for young actors and directors alike. Continuing this tradition in the performing arts is director Angela Yang (20C), the newest member of the increasing list of Emory student directors. Yang’s directorial debut, “Peerless,” premieres on Nov. 14.
The South Florida senior has been active in theater throughout college, primarily in Oxford College productions like “Pillowman.” Yang is currently double majoring in theater and economics. In fact, it was through her pursuit in theater classes that she first learned of “Peerless” by playwright Jiehae Park.
“I encountered the play [in Fall 2018] in a ‘Reading for Performance,’ Yang explained. “My professor had assigned [this play] … and I just fell in love with it.”
“Peerless,” based on “Macbeth,” tells the story of two Asian American twins, L (Anna Ree (21C)) and M (June Kwon(20C)). The two work together to get M into her dream college by getting her the “affirmative action spot.” However, the spot is given to D (Chris Lowery (20C)), a white man who is 1/16th Native American. Enraged, the twins develop a plan to murder D and claim the university spot for themselves.
Also included among the characters of the play are BF (Matthew Nails (22C)), the boyfriend and emotional support to M, and Dirty Girl (Julia Byrne (20C)), a racist, precognitive student who foreshadows events throughout the play.
The play’s small-scale cast required only a small production team, according to Yang.
“Having [fewer] people to herd around has really been lucky,” Yang said. “Outside of working professionally with them, they’re all dear friends of mine so it is really easy to trust them and to openly communicate problems.”
“Peerless” discusses a variety of social issues such as racism, violence and murder. For example, the play features characters using a collection of slurs and derogatory terms toward one another. The playwright wrote, “It is a comedy, until it’s not.” Emory’s production will include a warning of such topics at the beginning of the play, according to Yang.
The play attempts to discuss these real-life issues “while taking it so far that it is mocking,” Yang remarked.
“The play has this idea that they live in this world you could never imagine, but everything they’re feeling and the general atmosphere is something that can be familiar to viewers.”
The play’s dramatic energy is apparent even in production rehearsals. With quick-witted dialogue, emotional lead characters and well-thought-out stunt choreography, “Peerless” is the play that will make you feel relieved about college applications finally being over with.
“Peerless” will be playing from Nov. 14 through Nov. 16 and Nov. 21 through Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burlington Road Building.