THE CHINESE LADY

Critics

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83 %

Reviews: 6

Audience

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Reviews: 0

September 5 - 29, 2019

Greenway Arts Alliance
Co-Production with Artists at Play
Los Angeles Premiere
THE CHINESE LADY
By Lloyd Suh
Directed by Rebecca Wear
Featuring Amy She and Trieu Tran, with Hao Feng and Stephanie Wong

TICKETS ($15 - $34): http://www.greenwayartsalliance.org/herland-a-national-new-play-network-rolling-world-premiere/

Inspired by the true story of America’s first female Chinese immigrant, The Chinese Lady is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. Afong Moy (Shu) is 14 years old when she’s brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil, she has been bought and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half a century, she performs for curious museum-goers, showing them how she eats, what she wears, and the highlight of the event: how she walks with bound feet. As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. The Chinese Lady blurs the line between the observed and the observer, and gives us new eyes on the history of American entitlement and immigration.

THE CHINESE LADY creative team also includes: Set and Property Design by Austin Kottkamp; Costume Design by Hyun Soon Kim; Lighting Design by Wesley Charles Chew; and Sound Design by Jesse Mandapat.

Since its 1997 inception, the Greenway Arts Alliance has united communities through the arts, education and social enterprise. Through Greenway Court Theatre’s professional theatre productions, Greenway Institute for the Arts’ education programs and the Melrose Trading Post’s weekly art-based open market, Greenway Arts Alliance builds a vibrant artistic community in the heart of Los Angeles. GAA has modeled an innovative partnership with the Fairfax High School campus to leverage community resources to connect the professional artistic and public education communities around a commitment to learning and creation in the arts. Greenway Arts Alliance was Co-Founded by artists-activists Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz, both of whom serve as Co-Artistic Directors for the organization.

Artists at Play is a collective of Asian American creative professionals who curate quality theatre in Los Angeles. Their artistic programming tells the stories of communities underrepresented in media and entertainment, with a focus on the Asian American experience. Through Artists at Play's mainstage productions, new play development and other events, they advocate for and collaborate with diverse communities of artists. Founded in 2011, Artists at Play's productions have achieved box office success and critical acclaim including “Critics’ Choice” by numerous news outlets, and earned Ovation Recommendations and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Artists at Play has developed artistic partnerships with Center Theatre Group, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, East West Players, The Latino Theater Company and The Comedy Comedy Festival. They have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, KPCC, Angry Asian Man, Hyphen Magazine and @This Stage Magazine, among others. Artists at Play is a member of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists.

For more information, call (323) 673-0544 or email [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenwayTheatre/
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1928005957300297/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenwayTheatre/

Greenway Court Theatre
544 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Reviews

Rob Stevens

Rebecca Wear does a fine job of directing the various scenes so they don’t feel too repetitive, giving the actors and the audience a chance to enjoy the finer points of the writing. Unfortunately Suh’s writing goes off the tracks about 80 minutes into the 100 minute intermission-less work.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Joan Alperin

I saw this beautifully sad, poignant, dark play last Saturday evening and I’m still thinking about it. Thanks to the wonderful writing, acting and directing this two-person outing based on a true story is that memorable.

In 1834 a 14-year-old Chinese girl, Afong Moy (the excellent Amy Shu), arrived in New York from Canton. Supposedly Afong was the first Chinese woman to ever set foot on American soil. She was brought here after some American importers struck a deal with her parents for her to stay in this country for two years and then they would arrange for her passage home. However that was not the case.

sweet - Joan Alperin - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Rebecca Wear’s unhurried direction may not be for all markets, but it is exactly the right one for this uncommon material. The production, set on a square empty stage, takes place in a box-like showcase at its center (set and props are by Austin Kottkamp). The historical Chinese and other costumes are the distinguished contributions of designer Hyun Sook Kim and the lighting is by Wesley Charles Chew.

What is so astonishing about this theatrical experience is the delicate manner in which the writer takes his two characters on a meandering journey from anticipation to despair, pointing out exactly how and why it had to happen.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

If playwright Lloyd Suh’s goal is to give voice to a historically voiceless figure, he doesn’t quite succeed. That’s because Shu’s highly-stylized performance is the only context in which we perceive Afong Moy — we never see the unfiltered feelings and desires behind her mask of fake smiles.

sweet-sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

This play should be required viewing for everyone in this country!...

Afong’s words are fictionalized; unfortunately the actual storyline is all too real. It’s based on her true saga. But the play is the playwright’s own take on what her thoughts might have been in actuality. Lloyd Suh did a great job writing it; he keeps us laughing along the way, leaving most of the heavy lifting until near the end.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

Deftly directed by Rebecca Wear, Suh’s story becomes a larger story than the personal interplay between the two individuals, expanding to touch on America’s long and wretched racial history...

We are left with a universal immigrant’s story, especially poignant at this dark juncture in our nation’s history, as Afong is denied even partial membership in American society at the same time that the Chinese culture wrenched from her grasp fades from her memory as the decades of her virtual slavery slip past. Her increasingly haunting decades-skipping reports to the audience draw a bright line between past racist ugliness to today’s pervasive immigrant bashing.

Dick’s rating ★★★★★

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Rebecca Wear does a fine job of directing the various scenes so they don’t feel too repetitive, giving the actors and the audience a chance to enjoy the finer points of the writing. Unfortunately Suh’s writing goes off the tracks about 80 minutes into the 100 minute intermission-less work.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Joan Alperin

I saw this beautifully sad, poignant, dark play last Saturday evening and I’m still thinking about it. Thanks to the wonderful writing, acting and directing this two-person outing based on a true story is that memorable.

In 1834 a 14-year-old Chinese girl, Afong Moy (the excellent Amy Shu), arrived in New York from Canton. Supposedly Afong was the first Chinese woman to ever set foot on American soil. She was brought here after some American importers struck a deal with her parents for her to stay in this country for two years and then they would arrange for her passage home. However that was not the case.

sweet - Joan Alperin - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

Rebecca Wear’s unhurried direction may not be for all markets, but it is exactly the right one for this uncommon material. The production, set on a square empty stage, takes place in a box-like showcase at its center (set and props are by Austin Kottkamp). The historical Chinese and other costumes are the distinguished contributions of designer Hyun Sook Kim and the lighting is by Wesley Charles Chew.

What is so astonishing about this theatrical experience is the delicate manner in which the writer takes his two characters on a meandering journey from anticipation to despair, pointing out exactly how and why it had to happen.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

If playwright Lloyd Suh’s goal is to give voice to a historically voiceless figure, he doesn’t quite succeed. That’s because Shu’s highly-stylized performance is the only context in which we perceive Afong Moy — we never see the unfiltered feelings and desires behind her mask of fake smiles.

sweet-sour - Taylor Kass - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

This play should be required viewing for everyone in this country!...

Afong’s words are fictionalized; unfortunately the actual storyline is all too real. It’s based on her true saga. But the play is the playwright’s own take on what her thoughts might have been in actuality. Lloyd Suh did a great job writing it; he keeps us laughing along the way, leaving most of the heavy lifting until near the end.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

Deftly directed by Rebecca Wear, Suh’s story becomes a larger story than the personal interplay between the two individuals, expanding to touch on America’s long and wretched racial history...

We are left with a universal immigrant’s story, especially poignant at this dark juncture in our nation’s history, as Afong is denied even partial membership in American society at the same time that the Chinese culture wrenched from her grasp fades from her memory as the decades of her virtual slavery slip past. Her increasingly haunting decades-skipping reports to the audience draw a bright line between past racist ugliness to today’s pervasive immigrant bashing.

Dick’s rating ★★★★★

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review