The Courtesan – A New Play

When time intertwines Japanese art, Impressionism, environmental science, and three cultures…

(left) Kesai Eisan (right) Van Gogh copy

In 2012 I went to the Van Gogh museum and saw all these Japanese prints. I thought it was cool they included them in the museum but then I realized it was Van Gogh copying Japanese wood-block prints as did many artists of the time. Japanese artwork really gave birth to Impressionism. I couldn’t get the image of one painting, The Courtesan, out of my head. I kept imagining the subject of the painting talking to the artist. Then I thought about global influences of art and cultures and how art can help give us hope even through devastation.

So I wrote two different stories across time: one of an artist and his work come to life and the other set at the site of an environmental disaster in modern-day China. The two stories are connect through time and place with an eternal longing for love, connection and inspiration to go on living. I chose nine Japanese prints that inspired Van Gogh and wrote scenes with two different story lines.

(left) Utagawa Hiroshige (right) Van Gogh copy

I gathered the musical talents of UNIT SOUZOU and three gifted actors Samson Syharath, Ken Yoshikawa and Elaine Low (who has been in five of my prior plays). I’ve been writing scenes based on nine of the original Japanese prints Van Gogh and other artists copied.We’ve started rehearsal for a reading with movement, projections, dance and music as well as slides of the paintings, my sound and lighting by Xander Atwood.

It will be  75-minute show at the intimate New Expressive Works on Jan. 27th at 7:30pm and Jan. 28th at 2pm & 7:30pm. Please mark your calendars.

It’s been 14 years since I’ve written a stage play. I  hope you can see this new work.

Here’s more info!
A chance meeting between Van Gogh and his inspiration for the painting The Courtesan. How Japanese art influenced Impressionism with a side trip through time to modern-day China at the site of a devasting chemical spill.

The Courtesan
a new play
by Dmae Roberts
A 75-minute staged reading with projections, sound, movement and featured music/dance by Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe of UNIT SOUZOU
and actors Samson Syharath, Elaine Low and Ken Yoshikawa. With creative team Paige Rogers, Xander Atwood and Joe Rogers.

Jan. 27th @ 7:30pm, Jan. 28th @ 2pm & 7:30pm
at N.E.W. Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont, PDX 97214
Tix: Advance are tickets are $10.
It’s $5 students//Oregon Trail Card (day of show with I.D.)\
Buy tickets for The Courtesan – a new play by Dmae Roberts (service fee included)

OR PayPal… (no service fee)

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The Letting Go Trilogies

 The Letting Go Trilogies is now available for purchase for $12.95 in print on  CreateSpace (
It’s also available for $12.82 with Amazon Prime on

The Kindle edition  is at this link:

You can also order it directly from the MediaRites’ Amazon store. MediaRites has agreed to distribute Dmae’s book free of charge. It’s $13 plus shipping at this link:

The book is appropriate for ages 14 to adult. And please consider sharing your review on Kindle and Amazon!

Available from Dmae  directory for $15 including shipping via media mail. All orders will go out within two business days. 


The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family traces four decades of what it means to be a mixed-race adult who sometimes called herself “Secret Asian Woman.” With her personal essays written over a ten-year period, Dmae Roberts journeys through biracial identity, Taiwan, sci-fi, and the trials of her interracial Taiwanese and Oklahoman family amid love, loss and letting go of past regrets and pain.

Dmae-Vertical Reading-WHS-2


See photos from past reading and book signing events:


Past Events: 

  • May 20th at 6:30pm at Wilson High School (1151 SW Vermont St, Portland, OR 97219) along with a screening of Mei Mei, A Daughter’s Song, 2015 award-winning film for the Best Historical Documentary from the Oregon Independent Film Festival.
  • May 23rd at 7:00pm at Broadway Books (1714 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232) for the official launch of Roberts’ book.
  • July 19th at 7pm at Rose Schnitzer Manor for their Lifelong Learning Lecture Series, “Live Your Art.
  • Sept 1st at 7pm at Another Read Through bookstore, 3932 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227 ( Dmae will give a preview of her Oregon Humanities Conversation Project topic and feature a reading from her book with: “What Are You?” A Mixed-Race Reading & Conversation.”
Stay tuned for future events!

Educators can receive a discount on multiple copies. Appropriate for high school and college ethnic studies courses. Email:

  • 10 to 19 copies — 10% Discount
  • 20 to 29 copies — 20% Discount
  • 30 to 39 copies — 30% Discount
  • 40 or more copies — 40% Discount

Continue reading

The Letting Go Trilogies


Dmae Roberts has recently completed her memoir book The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed Race Family which traces four decades of what it means to be a mixed-race adult who sometimes called herself “Secret Asian Woman.

With her personal essays written over a ten-year period, Dmae Roberts journeys through biracial identity, Taiwan, sci-fi, and the trials of her interracial Taiwanese and Oklahoman family amid love, loss and letting go of past regrets and pain.Through journeys across America, Japan and Taiwan, this collection of personal stories charts four decades of racial identity. Each essay lends insights into the complexity of cross-cultural family relationships and includes photographs of the author’s family.

Edited by Jessica Morrell. Additional editor and copy-editing by Sandra de Helen. Artwork and cover design by Kathy Delumpa Allegri.

13413586_10154136865834564_8348812489757482232_nFrom Dmae: “It’s difficult to imagine it was illegal in many states for my parents to be married. I’ve spent much of my adult life thinking about what it meant to grow up in an interracial family in rural Oregon after spending my early childhood in Asia. Many of these stories along with journeys to Taiwan and my experiences as a caregiver to my mom are detailed in my memoir collection.”

Read the latest interview from Grace Hwang Lynch who featured my book on  (

And hear the interviews about The Letting Go Trilogies:

Susannah Mars of Adventures in Artslandia.

Heidi Durrow of The Mixed Experience podcast

Ken Jones of KBOO’s Between The Covers program. 

Soft cover available for purchase for $14.95 in print on  Amazon   (,  Kindle (  and CreateSpace ( Also if you’re Amazon Prime members, this book is eligible for two-day free shipping!

If you live in Portland, Broadway Books is offering a special price of $13 for signed copies of my book. Please come and support a premiere Portland independent bookstore. More

For more info or if you want to purchase my book via check or PayPal, please email: for details.

Other Work


Read Dmae’s “My Turn” columns in the Asian Reporter   Dmae

Dmae has been a monthly columnist for Portland’s Asian Reporter newspaper. She draws from her personal experiences and AAPI issues and concerns. Many of her articles have been collected in her book The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a mixed Race Family.  

Read her column here in the Asian Reporter.

Three personal essays published in Oregon Humanities magazine are included in Dmae’s first memoir book The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a mixed Race Family. 

My Brother, the Keeper
Dmae tries to understand her brother’s need to hoard. Dmae-wholefamily 1

“I just saw my little brother, Jack, digging through a Dumpster at our neighborhood grocery store, and I pretended I didn’t know him. He was in the dirty, torn clothes he likes to wear for what he calls “collecting….”

2012_fall_NextEncore Issue

Next Issue

Secret Asian Woman

When my mother died, I wondered if I’d still be Asian.
“I’m part Asian,” I’ve said most of my life.
“Oh, which part is that?”
I point to my prominent cheekbones, my best facial feature.
“This part.”
“I see.”  No one really sees. Sometimes I can’t see. I look in the mirror and turn my face to and fro and see Meryl Streep with a flat nose, freckles, and dark, thick hair. Often I look at my beautiful Asian women friends, and while I feel at home, I wonder if they look at me in that sideways manner as well.

From The Sun Magazine Readers Write section

Dmae & Mom

“At the age of ten I became my mom’s sous-chef. She would tell me what vegetables to cut up and always criticize me for doing it wrong. Then, after she heated her wok till the oil was smoking and flames shot up toward the ceiling, she would start to shout: “Garlic! . . . Now the onions! . . . Bring me the carrots and bamboo! . . . Where’s the cabbage? . . . Hurry with the broccoli! Now!”…”

READ ARTICLE (third article on the page)


Articles about Dmae

Dmae and George Takei

Dmae Roberts and actor George Takei

Telling Stories: Dmae Roberts’ Insightful Works on Multicultural America Posted by Colors of Influence July 2008

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody award-winning independent radio artist and writer who has written and produced more than 400 audio art pieces and documentaries for NPR and PRI programs. Her work – often autobiographical or focuses on cross-cultural peoples – is informed by her biracial identity.



Dmae Roberts and actor George Takei

Posted by The Oregonian April 05, 2007

Portland-based MediaRites, a nonprofit dedicated to telling the stories of diverse cultures, is the recipient of a 2006 Peabody Award for its radio documentary “Crossing East,” the first radio series to examine in detail the history of Asian Americans.