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The Chinese Lady

From 22 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Clever, Quirky

About the show

Inspired by the true story of the first Chinese female to step foot in America, Ma-Yi's production is a tale of dark poetic whimsy and a unique portrait of the United States as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman. More…

Afong Moy reflects on life in 1834 and beyond, as she is brought to the United States from China and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.”

Member Reviews (22)


Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Clever, Quirky
Avg Score

Slow, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Clever, Strong acting

See it if you like history-based plays th illuminate prejud in USA. 1st Ch lady on US soil (14yo in 1834); was displayed to paying crowds. Two chars.

Don't see it if you want action. Sedentary staging. Repetitive structure. Insightful re: bias, cultural norms, mistreatmt of "other." Packs a punch.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Slow, Relevant, Quirky

See it if Suh's potent drama/fantasia about events in one woman's immigration to 1850's America Based in fact, it's power subtly creeps up on you

Don't see it if Despite being well acted & staged drama slowly grows static through a repetitive framing devise Didactic ending stilted but still powerful

Didactic, Political, Moving

See it if you're interested in how white America perceived & treated Chinese people in 19th century, & the toll it took on the Chinese.

Don't see it if you do not have a tolerance for long stretches of direct address in the theater.

Also I was moved & educated by “The Chinese Lady,” even though it’s a play ... Read more Read less

Clever, Enchanting, Quirky, Ponderous, Funny

See it if fan of writer Lloyd Suh, want to encourage Asian-American writers & performers, learn about history of Asian folk in sideshows, clever set

Don't see it if don't like idea of people put into sideshows, time jumping plots, 2-character plays with one gone for most of play,

Asian immigration in a charming historical tale

See it if Touching experience of Chinese girl brought to NY in 1834 as a freak show. Shannon Tyo portrays her as educated and dignified. Heartbreaking

Don't see it if Daniel K. Isaac is clever as her passive-aggressive translator/assistant. Isaac also has one of the most resonant voices on the NY stage.

Also Lloyd Suh also wrote the hilarious "Charles Francis Chan Jr.'s Exotic ... Read more Read less

Great writing, Relevant, Funny

See it if 'Dear white people, I was the hopeful caged bird and I don't want to sing anymore.' Cutting humor laid with cruel treatment of immigrants.

Don't see it if Don't like hearing how the US / white people have treated people poorly.

Also Ticket from online site with discount code for $38.88.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if the history of & on-going discrimination against & ill treatment of immigrants to this country interests you. Based on a true story.

Don't see it if You fear or avoid looking at our weak spots

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if great acting/script...very relevant to today's immigrant stuggles.

Don't see it if you don't like monologues and two character plays..

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Quirky

See it if Great acting, colorful staging, a misunderstood culture, immigration, and complex issues about expectations. Good production values.

Don't see it if The the work was still in progress when I saw it, re-writes currently being addressed.

Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if meta-theatrical historical plays are you jam. Be ready for an uncompromising look at the history of anti-immigrant discrimination in America

Don't see it if You need naturalism in your plays. Uncomfortable facing America's racist past.

Also I jokingly described it to a friend as "the most depressing TED talk I... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you enjoy some light history

Don't see it if you prefer musicals

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you are curious about the history of the U.S. and its attitude towards non-white immigrants over the years.

Don't see it if you have no interest in stories about non-white immigrants/need to see something jolly. There are moments of humor, but...

Exquisite, Hilarious, Resonant

See it if You like entering worlds different from yours.

Don't see it if If you want you don’t want to think.

Also I found this play a timely reminder of who we are as a country. I read... Read more Read less

Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if Want to experience a sad story of a Chinese woman who for years was expected to be an object in an American exhibit.

Don't see it if Expect fast action and drama, there is very little of that.

Delightful, Enchanting

See it if you like good acting. Good costumes and set. If you like historical immigrant stories.

Don't see it if if you don't like plays where there isn't a lot of movement on stage. Where the story is repetitive.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Funny, Great acting, Quirky

See it if You’re interested in the history of Chinese Americans. You like clever storytelling. You have a quirky sense of humor.

Don't see it if You cannot sit with one character for a long time.

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Indulgently knowing

See it if you enjoy a tale interweaving historical context and the philosophical impossibility of knowing the Other.

Don't see it if First person declamatory speeches annoys you.

Also Some anachronisms are distracting: the qipao worn at the later part of... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Politics. History. Enchanting performance by Shannon Tyo. Interesting Set

Don't see it if No need to arrive early.. Politics. History. Be prepared for the Ugly American reminders.

During previews
Relevant, Cliched, Ambitious, Staid, Enacted seminar

See it if you wish Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus had a clearer message on imperialism & objectification; found The Greatest Showman disingenuous

Don't see it if you thought Venus was crystal clear/kind of passé; if Greatest Showman’s cheery msg of acceptance still outperforms a grim history lecture

Also Pros: Recommended viewing if you sense you’re behind on America’s mult... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Relevant, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if you want an interesting history lesson in a cleverly conveyed format. Gives an understanding of Chinese culture and US immigration history.

Don't see it if you don't like a "Groundhog Day" style format, don't like two-handers, or have no interest in history or the subject matter.

Also I saw this show over the summer when it premiered at Barrington Stage ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You'll permit a story as old as the wind, as old as the rain to deliver new truth to your heart.

Don't see it if See it now because it has a very limited run through 11/18.

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You want thoughtful relevant theater. S. Tyo charms in a demanding role, but Daniel Issac's elegant, puissant performance is the cornerstone

Don't see it if You are not willing to sit through 90 minutes of thought provoking theater and history

November 15th, 2018
"This quiet play steadily deepens in complexity as we trail the idealistic Afong and the more knowing Atung through the decades...Ms. Tyo and Mr. Isaac have gorgeous chemistry, and with their rapport they cast a spell that Fabian Obispo’s music and Oliver Wason’s lighting unobtrusively fortify......
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November 15th, 2018
"Suh’s version of Afong Moy is wonderful...Tyo is a performer of pure charisma, and she and Isaac enjoy a hilarious, spiky byplay...Suh keeps slipping a knife in. Afong Moy holds one belief absolutely sacred: that her audiences are making an empathic leap when they watch her...Provocatively, Suh ...
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November 13th, 2018
"Tyo invests Afong with a natural authority that keeps one interested in her fate...But there's little that she can do to enliven the longueurs of the script...For all the considerable fascination of its central character, ‘The Chinese Lady’ ultimately disappoints: Having established Afong's dail...
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November 13th, 2018
“Pena, directs this even, thoughtful production...As ‘The Chinese Lady’ explains her life story, and the acting style varies from presentational to dramatic to naturalistic...The acting loses a bit of its punch, when it is so every day...It is incredibly moving to see her progress in age...From a...
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