M. Butterfly

Inspiration For M. Butterfly

Based on a true story that stunned the world, M. Butterfly opens in the cramped prison cell where diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French government - and by his own illusions. In the darkness of his cell he recalls a time when desire seemed to give him wings. A time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive - and as elusive - as a butterfly. How could he have known, then, that his ideal woman was, in fact, a spy for the Chinese government - and a man disguised as a woman? What inspired Hwang to write the play, and most importantly, what do the real life Song and Butterfly have to say about what really happened?

M. Butterfly, by David Henry Hwang, is set in several different places and time periods. It begins in the present, in Gallimard's prison cell in Paris. Gallimard is the former French diplomat who has been imprisoned for treason, and as he tells his story, the scenes flashback from locations in Beijing, China, from 1960 to 1970 to locations in Paris from 1966 to the present.

However, Hwang was not the first person to pen the story. The original story came about in 1898 when John Luther Long was inspired by his sister's chance meeting with the...

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