Sunday, May 8, 2016


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

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