reviews | commentary | interviews & profiles




"The final three scenes slam into place like heavy doors, turning the funny, brutal show into something red with real fury."
Time Out New York | February 2015

"Some playwrights have a gift to amuse; Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig has a darker gift. Anyone with romantic notions of Chinese culture will be unsettled by the jagged, unsentimental portrait of modern urban China."
Chicago Reader | October 2014

"...Fearless, zippily-paced, and satirical, shining a light on Chinese society’s necessary doublethink, be that willful blindness to the political past, or an equally blind belief in an impossibly brilliant future."
The Independent | October 2013

"...Offers a window on a hidden world. The play has an epic scope – charting the effects of the Cultural Revolution, the 1989 crushing of the pro-democracy movement, and the cultural shift that has seen China's urban population grow by 400 million in the last 30 years – but it tells history through the lives of those looking for a better life."
The Guardian | October 2013

"...A ruder, weirder, funnier, more insidery view of the emerging superpower than that provided by the white British playwrights....Salty, surreal and bombastic, Cowhig's writing often recalls the in-yer-face Brit playwrights of the '90s."
Time Out London | October 2013



"...One of the true strengths of this play is that employing cultural imagery does not equate to focusing on Asian American identity. It is a difficult balancing act that Cowhig performs skillfully.... The play’s exploration of heritage eventually becomes a frame through which the audience witnesses the most vulnerable of human processes: loving, dying, and letting go. Frances’ bricolage of imagery creates a cultural frame that is so emotionally accurate one forgets its critical role in creating the experience.... If you cry at this play, don’t worry. It’s just because it hurts so good. "
Hyphen | June 2013

"Thanks to Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s mesmerizing and ultimately moving 410[GONE]...we know that the afterlife, or at least one vision of it, involves deities from Chinese mythology playing Dance Dance Revolution. "
Theatre Dogs | June 2013

"Why would a Chinese-American teenage boy be so suicidal? How can a devoted sister come to terms with loss and unfulfilled love? And how does their cultural heritage affect them? Despite some lovely, lyrical writing, and an impressive imagination, Cowhig largely obfuscates these most potent, and emotionally resonant, elements of her play. "
The San Francisco Examiner | June 2013

"Much of the fun of the play comes from the gods, but it's really the story of the siblings that makes it work and takes it into unexpectedly dark and resonant places. It's the aching humanity under the otherworldly hijinks that makes it all pay off, and ultimately makes you question who the real goddess of mercy in this story is. "
KQED | June 2013



"Lidless is harsh political theatre. Lidless doesn't want to be liked; it wants to change you. It is powerful enough to do just that."
Tucson Sentinel | April 2012

"Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, in a tremendously accomplished debut, considers the moral legacy of American foreign policy in the most emotionally devastating way....Reframing global politics on a domestic scale, she turns headline news into a modern-day tragedy."
The Scotsman | August 2010

"Yet another anti-US diatribe, faulting us for the real and alleged cruelties of war while giving the shadowy and fanatical enemy a pass. It’s academic post-colonialism at its facile worst, a doctrinaire indictment of America which, perhaps along with Israel, is the only place standing in the way of the new world socialist order....Zero stars."
The Washington Times | August 2010

"Because the action embodies the consequences of parents' invasive behaviour on their own children, [LIDLESS] makes a far more lasting impact than anything offered from politicians in this election on the subject of war or generational damage."
The Guardian | May 2010



Performance, Law and the Race So Different
Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson | January 2014

Emerging Voices, Strangers in the Theatre
Jenny Lee | Hyphen Magazine | December 2012



The China Connection: A Conversation with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and Christopher Chen [PDF]
American Theatre | February 2015

Turning the World's Largest Human Migration Into a Play: Q&A with Frances Cowhig [PDF] 
Wall Street Journal | January 2015

Filling the Gap: Frances Cowhig tackles three plays about China [PDF] 
Theatre Forum | Fall 2014

Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig on "The World of Extreme Happiness" 
Chicagoist | September 2014

Profile in Tank Magazine [PDF] 
Tank Magazine | February 2014

Talking Trauma: An Interview with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Caridad Svich | September 2011

Profile in Venus Magazine [PDF]
Venus Magazine | Fall 2010

Covering New Ground [PDF]
The Write Perspective | Fall 2009

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