October 19 - November 14, 2021
Portland Center Stage: Ellyn Bye Studio

By Lloyd Suh
Directed by Lava Alapai

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 U.S. 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.

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Study Guide

Additional Dates to Know:

Wednesday, October 27: PCS pre-show music

Thursday, November 4th: First Thursday Music in the Lobby

Saturday, November 6th: Open Captioning

Sunday, November 7th: Daylight Savings (Fall behind)

Sunday, November 7th: HIGHLIGHT NIGHT: AAPI community

Wednesday, November 10th: HIGHLIGHT NIGHTAAPI community

Sunday, November 14th: ASL interpreted

Portland Center Stage: Ellyn Bye Studio

128 NW 11th Ave Portland, OR 97209


“…we’re asked to consider whether cultural sharing is an inevitable gateway to bloody conquest, and to observe the mechanics by which American optimism sours and spoils.”

Conner Reed, Portland Monthly

Barbie Wu is extraordinary as Afong. Her speech is delicate and modulated to please, her every gesture graceful. She continues to smile as she visibly ages before us. And yet, with each year, the content of her speech changes as reality dawns. Irony creeps in, and with it a grim acceptance.

Judy Nedry

You’ll become mesmerized by Wu’s skill in creating a layered, paradoxical and sometimes curiously optimistic Chinese character.

John Rudoff, Willamette Week

Director Lava Alapai’s deft touch and her superb two-person cast deliver a 75-minute ride of gentle comedy and bitingly current cultural commentary that leaves the audience thoroughly entertained, edified, and shaken by closing curtain.

Tina Arth


Barbie Wu
Afong Moy
Bern Tan


Lava Alapai
Lloyd Suh

Production Team

Barbie Wu
Creatie Producer
Luan Schooler
Kristen Mun-Van Noy
Stage Manager
Carol Ann Wohlmut
Production Manager
Sara Ryung Clement
Scenic & Costume Designer
Jennifer Lin
Lighting Designer
Sharath Patel
Sound Designer
Derek Graham
Diane Trapp
Wig Designer
Alana Wight-Yedinak
Assistant Costume Designer
Alan Cline
Assistant Lighting Designer
Michael Jones
Properties Master
Amanda Vander Hyde
Production Assistant
Casi Clark
Sound Lead
Alana Wight-Yedinak
Costume & Wardrobe Lead
Derek Easton
Technical Director
Gavin Burgess
Light Board Op
Meg Slaughter
Sound Board Op
Jamie Tait
Lead Props Artisan
Karl Hanover
Dialect Coach