SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- This is not to say that the production’s events are in any way based on Chen’s own life, which has been deeply rooted in the Bay Area. A San Francisco native, Chen discovered a love for theater after entering UC Berkeley as an intended music major. Out of college, he worked the box office at the Magic Theater before eventually going to San Francisco State University for his Master’s degree in playwriting.
A Tale of Autumn takes place in an unspecified setting, where a large farming corporation undergoes a power struggle following the death of its founder. Questions of corporate control and the pursuit of the common good arise in ethically murky circumstances.
The stage here is instead more an arena of self-assessment, which became necessary amid the anger and hysteria following the election.
“At the core, though, the question which bubbled up for me, that has now become the core of the play for me, is (how) Trump in my mind must be a logical extension of common values that we tacitly accept,” Chen says. “Somehow his ruthless quest for power and narcissism — it felt like that is this clownish, buffoonish and horrifying version of values that we all kind of tacitly accept.”