The true story of the first Chinese woman in America.
“Hello, my name is Afong Moy; I came to America in 1834, when I was fourteen years old…”
Brought to the United States from Guangzhou Province, China, Afong Moy is put on display as the first Chinese woman to set foot on American soil. Although Afong believes that she is an ambassador for Chinese culture, in reality she is a sideshow exhibit. Spanning a half-century, this two-person play depicts her daily life as a touring museum attraction. She performs for a paying audience 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. The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh is a poetic, whimsical play inspired by the true story of Afong Moy’s life.
*Trigger Warnings: (may contain spoilers)
Description of foot-binding
Mentions of Opium War, Civil War, Manifest Destiny, and Transatlantic Slave Trade
Daydream of overpowering another person
Chinese Exclusion Act – mention of torture, lynching, mutilation, burned alive, Snake River Massacre
A character smokes a cigarette
Cultural Appropriation of tea is explained
A woman is trafficked and lives in a museum
Brief mention of portion control (food)
Characters eat food on stage
There are brief descriptions of racial violence