reviews | commentary | interviews & profiles




"Cowhig's ability to skilfully explore the maddening aspects of capitalism, bureaucracy and greed lend The King of Hell's Palace the air of a modern parable."
What's On Stage | September 2019

"Cowhig follows Chinese public health officials who ran a campaign in 1990s Henan Province encouraging people to sell blood plasma to an American pharmaceutical company and a family of farmers attracted by the programme’s promise of escaping poverty by participating. All the characters are scared shitless: scared of being caught, of slipping back into past horrors, for the fates of their children.."
Exeunt Magazine| September 2019

"Profits and reputations came before safety, a cover-up and an epidemic in hepatitis and HIV infections ensued, resulting in debilitating sickness and death for thousands of people....We can’t afford to be smug here – we’ve had our own terrible health scandals. But as global power continues to shift to Beijing, we ignore this parable at our peril."
The Telegraph | September 2019



"...A masterpiece....Gird your loins and go---Snow in Midsummer is savage, and scintillating, and worth it."
Ashland Daily Tidings | August 2018

"Snow in Midsummer is shocking....In Cowhig and Audibert's hands, the female roles have strength and integrity. Women have heart. Women have the power to return the rains and bring balance to the world."
Mail Tribune | August 2018

"It's an expansive, ambitious play about trauma and passion which sees ancient weather curses collide with climate change, vengeful ghosts with corrupt officials."
The Stage | March 2017

"Despite the modern updating, powerful fable-like qualities of another, sterner age resonate. The hunt for truth and justice— not to mention long-lost children — will not be halted."
The Evening Standard | March 2017



"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



"...A trippy video game afterlife full of maddening puzzles based on Dance Dance Revolution and manic Chinese deities that get high off of human pain. While it is Hell of a sort (technically more of a purgatory) for both mortals and immortals trapped there, watching this world is heavenly. Audiences drink in the intensity of Rorschach’s signature immersive design while a kinetically gifted cast plays out parallel stories of mysterious adventure and devastating loss."
DC Theatre Scene | March 2018

"In Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s audacious, irreverent and ultimately moving play “410[GONE],” the Chinese Land of the Dead has gone pixelated, with souls coming through via download and the karmic cycle pivoting on the mechanism of a video game."
Washington Post | March 2018

"...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



"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



Parables of Global Capital: An Interview with Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Oregon Shakespeare Festival | May 2021

The Timelessness of Injustice
Prologue Magazine | Fall 2017

The China Connection: A Conversation with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and Christopher Chen
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

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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