The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin

Amid our heated discussions about jobs and immigration, the History Theatre premieres a play that looks back at a time when similar debates roiled the nation. The Chinese Exclusion Act, the only law that forbade a specific ethnic group’s entry into this country, prevented legal immigration by Chinese people from 1882 to 1965. But those with relatives in the United States could gain legal entry, a loophole that led to a brisk business in forged documents by Chinese workers claiming American parentage. These “paper sons” included Harry Chin, who settled in Minnesota. Playwright Jessica Huang interviewed Chin’s daughter to tell his story in “The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin,” which premieres Saturday in St. Paul. Singaporean director Mei Ann Teo helms this opening with actors such as Sherwin Resurreccion, Audrey Park and Meghan Kreidler. The theater is also opening a lobby exhibit of images of “paper sons” and “paper daughters” by acclaimed photographer Wing Young Huie. (7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri. Ends April 9. History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. $15-$40. 651-292-4323 or historytheatre.com.)

Rohan Preston