Family and cultural identity at the heart of King of the Yees

Delta actor Raugi Yu performs in King of the Yees, which runs from Oct. 14 to 22 at the Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond).

Milton Lim and Andrea Yu perform in King of the Yees

Raugi Yu always had a passion for acting, but his perspective on it has changed since starting out in the business 20 years ago.

“I love acting because I need to know myself really well to act as my characters honestly,” Yu said.

The North Delta resident will be showcasing that honesty in the Canadians premiere of King of the Yees, opening Oct. 14 at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre.

Written by San Francisco playwright Lauren Yee, the play offers humour and heart-breaking honesty in equal measure as the protagonist explores the cultural and generational divide that separates fathers and daughters.

King of the Yees is the story of the intrepid Lauren Yee and her search for her missing father, Larry, the driving force of the Yee Family Association, an anachronistic men’s club that was formed 150 years ago in the wake of the San Francisco gold rush. To find him, Lauren embarks on a fantastic journey through the heart of the city’s Chinatown, where she confronts a world that is both completely foreign and utterly familiar at the same time.

Raugi Yu

Yu (pictured) said the story touches on Chinese culture and tackles “the Chinese stereotypes of Chinese people, and Caucasian stereotypes of Chinese people.”

This is not Yu’s first time working with Gateway Theatre, having previously performed in four of their productions and he is excited to share his passion for theatre with his fellow Deltans.

“Living in Delta really has inspired me to focus on community,” Yu said. “I find in Delta there is a real sense of togetherness. You get the feeling of a much bigger family. That plays a lot in our business as actors.”

King of the Yees is directed by Sherry J. Yoon and stars Andrea Yu in the title role of Lauren Yee and Jovanni Sy as her father, Larry. Raugi Yu, Donna Soares and Milton Lim round out the cast as supporting actors in a variety of roles.

The play runs from Oct. 14 to 22 at the Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond), with a preview performance on Oct. 13. Tickets start at $29. For more information or to buy tickets, call 604-270-1812 or check it out online at gatewaytheatre.com/yees.