Skip to main content

Taiwanese set and production designer lauded at Obie Awards

  • Date:2020-07-22
Taiwanese set and production designer lauded at Obie Awards

Taiwanese theater designer Chen Yu-hsuan (陳昱璇) received an award for "Outstanding Set Design" for the theatrical play "Our Dear Dead Drug Lord" at the 2020 Obie Awards. Streamed on July 14, the annual ceremony salutes outstanding achievement in and off-off Broadway theatre to recognize brave works and champion new material in theatre.

"For her evocative, tactile, and very clever set design for "Our Dear Dead Drug Lord," the judges have awarded an Obie to Chen Yu-hsuan," the Obie Awards website reads.

Described by New York Times as "highly entertaining," "Our Dear Dead Drug Lord" unfolds with four Miami high-school girls gathering in a discarded treehouse to summon the spirit of infamous cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar. As the story progresses, the girls confront their own demons, spanning from family feud, suicidal thoughts, and past trauma.

In her acceptance letter, Chen thanked her mentors, family and friends in the United States and Taiwan for their unwavering support. Characterizing theater as a collaborative art, the Taiwanese artist said she was very fortunate to have worked with a group of talented creators.

As an Asian woman working hard in the United States, Chen said she wishes to dedicate this award to all those who need the courage to make themselves heard, especially female and ethnic minorities. To bring energy into people's everyday lives, the promising designer pledged to keep on creating.

After graduating from the Department of Drama and Theatre at National Taiwan University, Chen went on to further her studies and received her MFA in Design for Stage and Film at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

In addition to the award-winning "Our Dear Dead Drug Lord," Chen's 2017 production design on short film "Jie-Jie(姊姊)" won the HBO Asian Pacific American Visionary Award. The New York-based artist has also been involved in the production of several Broadway shows such as "Tootsie (窈窕淑男)," and "Kiss Me, Kate (刁蠻公主)" in 2018.

The 65th Annual Obie Awards was initially scheduled to take place on May 18, but was postponed to July 14 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by American comedian Cole Escola, the prerecorded award ceremony premiered on Youtube.