The GOLDEN DRAGON by Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham
The Boston Court is a bold little theater that puts every ounce of energy into every production I’ve ever seen there. Boston Court CoArtistic Director Michael Michetti’s direction takes The Golden Dragon on a fast paced journey with side trips into Aesop’s Fables as well as fulfilling hopes and dreams in fantastic ways. Sara Ryung Clement’s multi-level set enhanced by Elizabeth Harper’s ingenuitive lighting design provide multiple settings for the larger fable to unfold. There’s a touch of Brecht going on as the five actors: Susana Batres, Joseph Kamal, Justin H. Min, Theo Perkins and Ann Colby Stocking initially all workers in the noisy kitchen of The Golden Dragon: Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese Fast Food Restaurant with steam fogging the scene, become a myriad of others. Most interesting, to me, was the complete against type casting that was beautifully achieved. All of the actors play multiple roles. The Nordic blonde stewardess is played by muscular African American Perkins. Beautiful Mexican actress Batres, plays a number of different roles including ‘Barbie Fucker,’ the boyfriend of the dark haired cabin attendant, Barbie (Kamal) .. A Young Man (Min), a lithe and limber dancer, plays not only an aged grandfather, but also the dancing Cricket in the familiar fable expanded as he is pimped out by diminutive Stocking as the hard line Ant who repeats and repeats that one must work to eat.
The ensemble graces the stage with alacrity and confidence. The through line of the piece turns on a young undocumented Chinese boy (Batres) who is in agony with an infected incisor. Again and again we return to the kitchen of The Golden Dragon where An Older Man (Kamal) decides that the tooth must come out! We move toward the extraction with side stories that include the arrival of two international women airline cabin attendants (Perkins and Kamal) for dinner where the blonde winds up with Thai coconut soup, “Number Six,” which includes the liberated tooth of the wailing Chinese boy. Repetition reminds of another German, Tom Tykwer, and his film Run, Lola, Run.. but The Golden Dragon eventually delivers a single outcome as we move toward the climax of the play.
Schimmelpfennig’s story plays out broadly with verbalized ‘short pauses’.. and longer pauses, that punctuate the characters’ speeches. When not on stage, we see them quietly inert in the open wings. Annie Yee's choreography and well timed scene changes mark the success of fine directing and a dedicated cast. John Nobori’s sound and music cues are perfect. Resolution of the death of the kitchen boy brings his life full circle as his errant tooth becomes the true thread of the story.
What a treat to see a professional cast bring together a challenging script. Applause!
The Golden Dragon
Boston Court Theatre
70 North Mentor Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
Opened May 8
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m
through June 5 with an added performance on
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Senior, student and group discounts are available
Tickets and information
(626) 683 6883