Wednesday, April 17, 2024

'Tiger Style' explores parent-adult child encounters


Francis Jue (left), Will Dao and Jeremy Kahn have an office encounter. (Kevin Berne photo)

After their lives seem stymied, two high-achieving Chinese American siblings blame their parents in Mike Lew’s “Tiger Style!” presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley.

Jennifer (Jenny Nguyen Nelson) is an oncologist whose loser live-in boyfriend (Jeremy Kahn) has just moved out.

Her brother, Albert (Will Dao), is a software engineer who has been passed over for a promotion that goes to an incompetent white man (Kahn). When he complains to his Chinese American boss (Francis Jue), he’s fired.

Jennifer and Albert blame their first-generation parents (Jue and Emily Kuroda) for tiger parenting, pushing them too hard to do well in school and other activities but leaving them unprepared for adult life.

When their parents refuse to accept that responsibility, saying they only wanted what was best for their children, Jennifer and Albert decide to go to China on what they call an Asian freedom tour. Things don’t turn out as they had hoped.

Although the play is billed as a satire, it makes some cogent points about racial stereotyping.

In this production’s talented, versatile ensemble cast, Jue stands out in his varied roles, especially as the boss and father, when his centeredness comes to the fore.

However, director Jeffrey Lo allows some over-acting, especially when Dao’s Albert is angry or overwrought.

Above Arnel Sancianco’s set is a sign for Ranch 99 Market for no readily apparent reason if one doesn’t know that this grocery store chain caters to Asian Americans. Scene changes involve set pieces that slide in and out with labels like home, work, family and others.

Costumes are by Becky Bodurtha with lighting by Kurt Landisman and sound by Howard Ho, who serves as language consultant.

Running about 2 ½ hours with an intermission, “Tiger Style!” will continue through April 28 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

For tickets and information, call (877) 662-8978 or visit