THE STORY: Afong Moy is fourteen years old when she’s brought to the United States from Beijing in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on US soil, she has been bought and put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half a century, she performs for curious museumgoers, 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 America’s first female Chinese immigrant, THE CHINESE LADY is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.
“…piercing and intimate… this quiet play steadily deepens in complexity as we trail the idealistic Afong and the more knowing Atung through the decades… by the end of Mr. Suh’s extraordinary play, we look at Afong and see whole centuries of American history. ” —NY Times. “Suh’s version of Afong Moy is wonderful. …a low-key marvel. You can almost see yourself in its hard-won polish.” —Time Out NY. “While THE CHINESE LADY…deals with the tragic aftermath of [the] Chinese Exclusion Act, it is also humorous, clever and entertaining, which is the victory of the play. …Afong Moy, might not have fulfilled her intention of educating and connecting the world in her life, but THE CHINESE LADY sure has the promise and potential [to] do so.”