"Under the Rainbow" takes on sex, race, relationships and Hollywood – my favorite subjects and topics Gotanda touches on in many of his plays. I saw the play last night and was not disappointed.
The production is two one-act plays. Part one is titled, "Natalie Wood Is Dead" and features a mother and daughter duo of struggling actors trying to make it in Hollywood. There's some raw emotion as the pair confront each other over the struggles and sacrifices they each make as an actor, parent and child. Diane Emiko Takei (Gotanda's wife) plays Yoko, the mother. Pearl Wong of the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors plays the daughter, Natalie Hayashi.
More interesting was part two, "White Manifesto." It's a 50-minute monologue by a WMWA, white male with attitude, who says everything that many of us think, but most of us don't talk about when it comes to the taboo subject of white men dating Asian women.
Danny Wolohan gives a great performance as Richard Saugus, who explains to us why Asian girls are easy for an average white guy like him. The dialogue skewers and expounds on almost every stereotype, excuse, explanation and complaint you can think of when pondering the white male/Asian female phenomenon.
Saugus gives us a "chartered member's" insight into getting Asian girls that he's gleaned from "pillow talk." He also provides a rundown of the sexual differences between women of various Asian ethnic groups. It's all done to wonderful dramatic and comedic effect.
These are old and tired issues that Gotanda raises, but they don't go away if we just stop talking about them. I'm glad there are artists like Gotanda out there still.