Shen Pei, playwright
Jeffrey Hatcher, translator
Originally produced in CTC’s 2004-2005 season
Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
In the Heavenly Palace, the Jade Emperor and the Jade Empress are holding a feast. Suddenly a monkey hatches from a rock and declares himself King, shaking the very foundations of heaven and earth. He even travels to the underworld and erases his death in the Book of the Dead. The Emperor tries to capture the Monkey, but the wild animal escapes, ending up in a showdown with Buddha himself! Buddha wins and thus begins the Monkey’s earthly adventures. He accompanies a monk on a pilgrimage, along with two traveling companions, a pig, Ba-jie, and a carp, Sha-Sen, both of whom have been sent down to earth after causing trouble in the Heavenly Realm. As with every great quest story, the journey tests the character of the four travelers. To complete the mission, each must learn to recognize his weakness and understand their strengths.
“The Monkey King is a beautiful synthesis of stylistic influences, from dance and Beijing Opera to cartoons, from martial arts to old-fashioned stage hamming.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune
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