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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

English and Mandarin collide in ‘Chinglish’

NEW YORK — It began, David Henry Hwang said, as a riff on “Glengarry Glen Ross,” the classic David Mamet play about real estate salesmen pitted against each other in a cutthroat competition to win a Cadillac and keep from losing both their jobs and their dignity.

Almost always, Hwang said, he uses another play as a formal model when he begins to write one of his own. For “Golden Child,” which was inspired by his grandmother’s stories of their family’s past in China, the model was Brian Friel’s Irish memory play, “Dancing at Lughnasa.” For “Chinglish,” a business-world comedy that premiered on Broadway last fall, he turned to Mamet.

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