Too often, we sit back while others tell our story for us, as if they know us better than we know ourselves. The reasons are myriad. Telling our own stories often requires incredible courage, and difficult introspection. Perhaps we are ashamed to tell our stories, because they highlight how different we are, from what is advertised as “normal.”
In the meantime, others are more than eager to tell our stories for us. And often, they make mistakes and gross generalizations in the process. Thus, misinformation is propagated as truth, and stereotypes are construed as reality. As a teacher, my goal is to ensure my students develop their voice. One that is strong enough to combat those who aim to silence them. My goal is for students to tell their story, the way that it must be told.
Resident Playwright Susan Pak is a Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright who has taught playwriting, screenwriting, television writing and webseries writing for a decade at Habib University in Karachi, Pakistan, and Northwestern University in Qatar. Susan received an MFA in writing for the screen and stage at Northwestern University; she received both a BA in English and a JD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Susan’s work centers on the myriad ways in which Asian Americans, and in particular Korean American women, resist the seduction of protection through assimilation. Her works have been produced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and include: Election at the Goodman Theater, The Fixer at the Steppenwolf Theater, Marabar at Chicago Dramatists, Ghost Girl at the Workshop Theater, T.A.B. at New York’s Downtown Urban Theater Festival, and the Manhattan Repertory Theater Festival; Haters at New York’s Midtown International Theater Festival; Baby Shower at New York’s Network One Act Festival; Incredible Invisible at Chicago’s Bailiwick Director’s Fest; Ladies’ Man at Chicago Dramatists; and The Writers at Theater Unleashed in Los Angeles. Her play Miguk Saram was a Finalist at the 2020 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.