Soul Samurai’s Fearless Lesbian Hero


In the near future, Brooklyn stands at the edge of apocalypse, wrecked by crime and decay, ruled by savage beings known as Long Tooths. Not even a subway train can penetrate the lawless landscape.

Only Dewdrop (played by Maureen Sebastian), a Filipina American, katana-wielding young lesbian, and her best friend, Cert (Paco Tolson), can kick, stab, and punch their way through the borough.

Dewdrop’s mission: to avenge the murder of her lover by killing the Long Tooths’ fearsome leader, Boss 2K.

A lone warrior, a broken world, shadowy villains, and heart-stopping fight scenes: this is the classic backdrop against which playwright Qui Nguyen creates the most unique lesbian heroine the New York indie theater scene has ever had a chance to cheer for.

His freewheeling, snap-crackle-pop play, Soul Samurai, is a modern pastiche of blaxploitation films, hip-hop swagger, and old-fashioned superhero(ine) vengeance.

Nguyen is the co-founder of the aptly named Vampire Cowboys theater Company; its mission is to bring a comic book aesthetic to the live stage. The company’s past productions have tackled sci-fi and caped crusaders, and Soul Samurai teems with the color, diversity, and biting humor those shows shared.

Samurai’s particular formula has a personal bent for Nguyen, who notes in the program that he grew up as a lone Vietnamese American kid in Arkansas: woulda been easy for me to feel bad about what I looked like or where I lived. But seeing characters like Bruce Lee and Richard Roundtree on the screen made raising my head up high easy and convinced me that it wasn’t a silly idea to believe that I too could be the baddest mamma jamma in my ‘hood. It was about heroes.

With Dewdrop, Nguyen is, in a way, giving back with his beloved genre; he’s offering up a lesbian warrior to inspire queer folks.

And it’s great, geeky fun.

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