The Ethical Society of Northern Westchester’s “Bookmarkers” have chosen M Butterfly by David Henry Hwang for their next book. Hwang’s variation upon Puccini’s beloved opera copped most of the big awards for 1988, starting with the Tony. It, too, tells the story of an exploitative East-West romance that ultimately consists more of fantasy than reality. In Madame Butterfly, a Western man misleads an Asian woman; in M. (for monsieur) Butterfly, however, the roles are reversed. Provocatively complicating matters, the woman is actually a man, a classical Chinese actor of women’s roles who is also a spy extracting secrets from the Westerner, a French diplomat who never discovers his beloved’s true sex. This gender-defying ruse is based upon an actual case in which secrets were passed for more than 20 years. Hwang’s treatment concentrates not on issues of gender confusion, nor of disloyalty to one’s country, but of the imperialist and racist delusions of greater Western manliness and of submissive Asian femininity. Presented as the diplomat’s reflective interior monolog exteriorized and peopled, the play is obviously as much an actors’ tour de force as Puccini’s opera is a singers. Join us on April 18, 2017, at 7:30 pm at Vera’s for good company and good discussion. Please let her know you will be coming. For further information, call ESNW at 914-941-3544.