The Chinese Lady


Oct 12 – Oct 31, 2021

The Chinese Lady

About the Show

The Chinese Lady tells the story of fourteen-year-old Afong Moy as she’s brought to the United States from Guangzhou Province in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on US soil, she has been put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half-century, she performs for curious white people, 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. Inspired by the true story of Afong Moy’s life, The Chinese Lady is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

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“By the end of Mr. Suh’s extraordinary play, we look at Afong and see whole centuries of American history. She’s no longer the Chinese lady. She is us.”

The New York Times

Show Credits

Lloyd Suh is the author of The Chinese Lady, Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, EST, NAATCO, PlayCo, Denver Center, Milwaukee Rep, ArtsEmerson, Children’s Theatre Co, and more, including internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. Lloyd has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, Mellon Foundation, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome, TCG, Dramatists Guild, and residencies including NYS&F and Ojai. Lloyd is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and was a recipient of a 2016 Helen Merrill Award and the 2019 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. From 2005-2010 he served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and has served since 2011 as the Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and since 2015 as a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.

Ralph Peña is a founding member and the current Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theatre Company, a leading professional Off-Broadway theater based in New York City focused on developing and producing new works by Asian American playwrights. Recent directing credits include: the world premieres of Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, Hansol Jung’s Among the Dead, and A. Rey Pamatmat’s House Rules for Ma-Yi; a new translation of The Orphan of Zhao for Fordham Theater; Nicolas Pichay’s Macho Dancer: A Musical for The Virgin Labfest 11; Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go (Off Broadway Alliance Award),  Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), and Mike Lew’s microcrisis (Youngblood, Ma-Yi). Ralph is the recipient of an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio, and is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) and Ma-Yi Writers Lab.

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