Cooler than Kill Bill, hotter than Shaft! The OBIE Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company teams up with the NYIT Award-winning Vampire Cowboys for "SOUL SAMURAI" the story of Dewdrop and her fight through the mean streets of a post-apocalyptic Brooklyn. After avenging her lover's murder in the heart of Coney Island, Dewdrop now must make it back home to the Lower East Side before the shoguns of Kings County find her. In a play that mixes hip-hop culture, blaxploitation, and the martial arts, this production dials it back old school with this seventies-inspired samurai story. This is one slick slice with a sharp sword and a score to settle! "SOUL SAMURAI" is being sponsored by the 2009 New York Comic Con.
Qui Nguyen (Playwright/Fight Director) is an award-winning writer and fight director. His scripts include the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of Fight Girl Battle World (nominated for Best Full Length Script by the 2008 NY Innovative Theatre Awards); Men of Steel (Cited as 2007's Best Adaptation of Comics into Other Media by ComicCritique.com); Living Dead in Denmark; StaiNed Glass Ugly; A Beginner's Guide to Deicide; and Vampire Cowboy Trilogy. Other plays include Bike Wreck (Youngblood; Metropolitan Playhouse) and the Off-Broadway production of Trial By Water directed by John Gould Rubin (Ma-Yi Theater/Queens Theatre in the Park). His plays have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts.com, and can be found in the anthologies, Savage Stage and Plays & Playwrights 2005. As a choreographer, Qui is an Advanced Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and has worked as an instructor & fight director for such places as LAByrinth Theater, Ma-Yi Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Public, HERE Arts Center, Partial Comfort Productions, The Brick, Nosedive Productions, Katharsis Theater, City Lights Youth Theatre, The Rabid Vamps Fight Studio, and others.
Robert Ross Parker (Director) is a director, writer, and actor. For Vampire Cowboys, he has directed the critically acclaimed productions of Fight Girl Battle World (nominated for Best Direction by the 2008 NY Innovative Theatre Awards), Men of Steel, Living Dead in Denmark, Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, A Beginner's Guide to Deicide, and StaiNed Glass Ugly. Recent directing credits include Hamlet (solo) starring Raoul Bhaneja (Hope and Hell), A Political Party!, the national tour of Children's Letters to God (Lamb's Theatre/Broadway Overseas Management), the Off-Broadway premiere of My Fake ID's (Lamb's Theatre), Lady Convoy (FringeNYC), and Justin Reinsilber's F*cking Love (Wej Productions). Robert was recognized as one of NYTheatre.com's People of the Year in 2004 as was Mr. Nguyen.
Since its founding in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater Company has endeavored to develop, produce and present plays and performance works that explore and affect the Asian American experience. It has succeeded in establishing a venue for Asian American artists willing to tackle relevant issues in their changing world. Ma-Yi addresses the cultural and artistic needs of the Asian American communities and artists in the tri-state area. Its core activities include main stage productions of new plays written by today's most exciting and forward thinking playwrights; the Ma-Yi Writers Lab - the largest collection of professional Asian American playwrights; the New Works Development Program - commissioning and developing new works by Asian American playwrights; and Touring - bringing their work to the world. Over the course of its 20 year history, Ma-Yi artists have garnered 9 OBIE Awards, one Drama Desk nomination, and two Henry Hewes Awards for Outstanding Design. Ma-Yi Theater Company is led by Executive Director Jorge Ortoll, and Artistic Director Ralph B. Pena. Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company was founded in 2000 with the first collaboration between playwright/fight director Qui Nguyen and director Robert Ross Parker. Their highly physical shows actively use modern pop-culture as a vehicle to explore more weighty subjects. The company's work has included: Fight Girl Battle World (2008), Men of Steel (2007), Living Dead in Denmark (2006), A Beginner's Guide to Deicide (2005), Vampire Cowboy Trilogy (2004), and StaiNed Glass Ugly (2003). In 2006, the company was awarded the Caffe Cino Fellowship from The New York Innovative Theatre Awards for outstanding continued production of theatre and Mr. Nguyen was featured as one of "ten playwrights to watch" by Time Out New York.
The five-member cast for "SOUL SAMURAI" will include: Sheldon Best (Boss 2K/Marcus), Jon Hoche (Grandmaster Mack/Pastor), Maureen Sebastian (Dewdrop), Bonnie Sherman (Sally December/Lady Snowflake), and Paco Tolson (Cert). Mr. Best's recent Boston credits include the world premiere of Joyce van Dyke's The Oil Thief and the Boston premiere of Alan Bennett's The History Boys. Mr. Hoche returns to VCTC after having appeared in last season's Fight Girl Battle World. Other credits include the NYC workshop of The Nightingale, directed by James Lapine, from the creators of Spring Awakening; Dracula, starring Lorenzo Lamas at Premiere Stages; and Macbeth at the American Globe Theater. This is Ms. Sebastian's second season with Ma-Yi and her third with Vampire Cowboys.Her NYC credits include: Both(Thicker Than Water/Youngblood at E.S.T.); oph3lia at HERE; Children of Vonderly at Ma-Yi; Fight Girl Battle World and Living Dead in Denmark with VCTC. Ms. Sherman has performed in various Saturday Night Saloons with VCTC and represented Vampire Cowboys at the 2008 New York Comic Con. Mr. Tolson's appearance in this show marks his third show with Vampire Cowboys (previously: Men of Steel and Fight Girl Battle World). He was nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award in the category of Best Featured Actor for his work in Fight Girl and, along with the rest of the cast, won the award for Best Ensemble. He has also been seen in New York in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Golf Ball at Ars Nova, Game Boys for Partial Comfort,Thicker Than Water at E.S.T., and in Children of Vonderly at Ma-Yi Theater. The scenic and lighting design will be by Nick Francone, the costume design by Sarah Laux and Jessica Wegener, the puppet design by David Valentine, and the sound design by Sharath Patel. The production stage manager will be Lyndsey Goode.
The complete performance schedule for "SOUL SAMURAI" (February 14 thru March 15) will be: Wednesdays through Sundays at 8:30 p.m. There will be one additional evening performance on Tuesday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m.; and 4:00 p.m. matinees on Sundays, February 15 and 22, and Saturdays, February 28, March 7 and 14. Tickets will be $25.00. Students and seniors will be $20.00. To reserve tickets, please visit www.here.org or call 212-352-3101.