Aug 13 – 17
Years in the making and finally having its world premiere at Theatre Off Jackson (TOJ) in Seattle’s historic Chinatown-International District, She Devil of the China Seas asks the controversial question: What if biographical plays were also fun? And what if audiences were and always have been savvy enough to crave pulpy adventure stories regardless of stage size?
This falls in line with the long-term mission of Pork Filled Productions (PFP) and its run of genre extravaganzas from Asian American and POC artists, such as playwright Maggie Lee’s Gregory Award-nominated steampunk western New Providence Trilogy. (That trilogy’s middle play, The Tumbleweed Zephyr, still has one of my favorite character entrances in recent memory, as a fabled bandit descends from an airship onto a moving train.)
Written by PFP executive director Roger Tang (known as “the Godfather of Asian American Theatre”) and directed by Kiefer Harrington, She Devil of the China Seas boasts one of the largest Asian American casts in recent Puget Sound history. It’s an epic swashbuckler about Zhang Tse (known as “history’s most successful pirate”), who took down Imperial Chinese and European fleets during her fabled career. The theater touts Marvel’s Conan and Red Sonja stories as major influences, and its promises of swords and sorcery on the TOJ stage warms my goofy little heart. Though the show will be filmed for a week-long video-on-demand run after the performances wrap up, nothing beats a crowd hooting and hollering in an air-conditioned theatre in the summer months.