Plays

One-act & Touring (use the Contact form to request script and licensing options)

Monkey in the Mirror
Adapted by KL Brisby, music TBD

The Ch’ing Fish helps the Monkey King along his journey to the west–but secretly creates a labyrinth of illusions that threaten to end Monkey himself!  It’s a tough way to welcome the Year of the Monkey. 2m+2w.

Ram-Girl
Written by Kalí Kamaria & KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

When a puppet troupe completes their show for Year of the Ram, what seems like competition among the performers turns out to be a trickier clash of gender stereotypes.  Live art created on stage adds a 2-D narrative to a timely 3-D topic. 1w+2m.

The Great Horse of Mongolia
Written by KL Brisby, music by Dr. Alexander Khalil

Tragedy when a powerful warlord sets his sights on a shepherd boy’s remarkable horse, and there is nowhere to hide. The origin story for Mongolia’s national instrument, the horsehair fiddle known as the morin khuur.  2m+1w.

Year of the Snake
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

WS98

The White Snake (Asian Story Theater 1998)

For Year of the Snake, two stories in one performance.  First is the musical story of how a simple snake came to be celebrated as one of the animals in Lunar New Year traditions.  The second part is an interactive story based on the legend of the magical White Snake, with audience participation which affects the story’s outcome and, in fact, morality.   2m+1w.

Year of the Dragon
adapted by KL Brisby

Kinetic assortment with music and martial arts, featuring mountain-sized Mo’o from Hawaii, earth-encircling Nagas from Indonesia, and the magical Dragon King who once commanded the world and battled the great Monkey to a stalemate. 2m+1w.

Year of the Rabbit
adapted and music by KL Brisby

A playful and informative confrontation, when complementary and contradictory traditions from across Asia combine.  The incoming Chinese Rabbit must fight for a place on the calendar against the incoming Cat from Vietnam–while the outgoing Tiger celebration from Thailand awaits its own New Year. 2m+1w.

Doctor Quynh & the Water Puppets
adapted by KL Brisby

Vietnamese folk hero Trang Quynh is a folk hero who often stood up to and embarrassed the corrupt and self-important government officials of his day.  Also features short episodes incorporating the world-unique Vietnamese water puppetry.  4m+2w (First produced by Asian Story Theater)

Super Shave Ice
adapted by KL Brisby

Multiple stories include the Cambodian Sovann Mecha mermaid, Maui legends from around Polynesia, and the Chinese story of how Monkey destroyed the paperwork on his own death, and freed all monkeys from underworld bureaucracy. 4w+4m (Produced by Asian Story Theater)

Shave Ice
adapted by KL Brisby

Framed by a story of locals living on the beach at modern Waikiki, episodes feature a Filipino love story (The Sultan’s Daughter), a modern Hawaiian story built around characters in a traditional song, and the story of the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid, a classic love story common to the folklore of China, Korea, and Japan. 4w+4m (Produced by Asian Story Theater)

Sea Monsters
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Alexander Khalil

Stories from around the Pacific rim, including the Tlingit legend of the Naakwa (octopi) taking human form to infiltrate the village, the pre-Incan legend of Pachacamac, and the Javanese legend of Nyi Loro Kidul, the fierce queen of the South Sea that to this day keeps most Indonesians out of the ocean.  6w+6m+extras  (Produced by Asian Story Theater.)

Return of the Monkey King
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Alexander Khalil

The pilgrims are stopped cold by a particularly formidable foe, and each explains to Kuan Yin why it’s everyone else’s fault.  It’s a little bit sit-com, but funny and character-illuminating.  4m+2w+2-or-more extras (we used 6 kids)  Tentatively slated to stage this one again in 2010.

KAHUA
adapted by KL Brisby, music by George Kahumoku

The story of Hawaii being overrun by a powerful and violent foreign culture that changed things forever–1000 years ago.  (That’d be when the Tahitians moved in.)  A wee bit controversial among the island communities, but great fun.  George Kahumoku (on all 3 Hawaiian CDs to win Grammy awards) wrote the score, and sat in for a few shows.  8m+6w (Produced by Asian Story Theater in San Diego CA)

Three Dragons
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao and Alexander Khalil

Our first combo features the Balinese legend of the powerful Naga, retold using shadow puppets; the Hawaiian legend of the Mo’o dragons, central to the origin of hula; and the might Chinese Dragon King who is eventually conscripted to join, you guessed it, the Journey to the West–as the great white horse that carries the Monk.  Big cast, separate rehearsals, but easily scaled from 8m+8w.

SunDance
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao and Alexander Khalil

A taiko group introduces the story of the Japanese Sun goddess Amaterasu, plus a Balinese story of the sun, the Chinese legend of Hu Yi the archer who shot down 9 of the 10 suns ravaging earth, and a fun story about Hawaiian Demi-god Maui capturing the sun.    6m+6w+extras

Journey to the Buddha
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Alexander Khalil

At the end of their epic Journey to the West, the travelers collect the teachings and head for home, only to be overtaken by disaster.  5m+4w

The Real & the Fake Monkey King
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

New kid in school struggles to fit in, paralleling legend of “imposter” Monkey King who confuses the travellers.  (Original cast featured a young Vanessa Hudgens, of High School Musical, as the lead kid.)  5girls+5adults.

Hanuman & the Monkey King
adapted by KL Brisby with Ramaa Bharadvaj, music by Cecilia Bao and Ramaa Bharadvaj

Post-apocalyptic monkey gangs battle over temple ruins, in a Planet of the Apes sort of way.  Featured very cool costumes as martial “Kings” challenge Bharata Natyam dancing “Men” over whose icon more deserving.  Mixed cast of 13, plus 3 little kids.

Spider Stories
adapted by KL Brisby

2-man tour built around how Anansi the lowly Spider ultimately earned title to all the folk tales of his world.  2m or 2w  (Produced by San Diego Black Ensemble Theater.)

Coyote, Spider, and the Monkey King
adapted by KL Brisby

Anthology tour featuring short versions of each trickster character.  3m+1w

Mulha, Mulan & Marietta
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

Anthology tour featuring three strong female characters from Africa, Asia, and Central America  3w+1m.

Fa Mu Lan, the Woman Warrior
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

Mother interrupts her 13-year-old’s latest trip to the mall with this legend, based on an ancient Chinese poem.  8m+6w.  (Predates Disney by a couple of years.)

The Candlewick Fairy
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

Simple fable of lonely lantern maker who falls in love with a mysterious woman.  Her beauty attracts the envy of the prince, who seizes her for his own–and gets more than he bargained for.  This smaller, younger-aimed, story was written for and done with pyro effects.  3m+2w

Tea Tour
adapted by KL Brisby & Gingerlily Lowe

Real “story theater” script with 3 episodes.  Audience given tea and stories retold with organic mix of real costumes, props, and narration.  3w+1m

Monkey King and the Spider Women
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

The 4 pilgrims get seduced and captured by a band of lovelies who turn out to be carnivorous spider spirits–led by a particularly nasty centipede. 8w+4m

Monkey King and the Mountains of Fire
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

Another key episode (the original novel has 9×9, that is, 81 obstacles) featuring a cranky princess with a magical Iron Fan that creates fire, and the formidable Bull Demon King. 4m+3w

Monkey King: The Journey Begins
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

recounts the origins and purposes of the 4 key characters: Monkey, Pigsy (ever crude and ravenous), Friar Sand (the dour recovering cannibal), and the Monk named Sanzang (ultra-pure and virtuous).  The boddhisatva Kuan Yin helps get them together and headed to India to pick up a set of the Buddha’s teachings, to bring home to China.  By the way, “Journey to the West” is founded on the journal of the actual monk who made this trip around the 9th century, and is credited with introducing real Buddhism to China.

The White Snake
adapted by KL Brisby, music by Cecilia Bao

Seminal Chinese love story of two snakes, one white and one green, who over centuries have mastered shape-shifting.  Assuming human form, one falls in love with a poor scholar.  Her true identity is eventually discovered then revealed by a powerful and disapproving monk.  In their ensuing epic battle, the scholar is drowned, and the White Snake must sacrifice her powers to procure an exotic plant that restores him to life.  A hugely popular legend in China, with multiple movie as well as opera versions, the story end varies: sometimes the snakes are righteously destroyed, sometimes they escape to their own world, and sometimes the young lovers have kids and live happily ever after.  When I did the larger version, at the pivotal juncture the audience elected the most correct ending (we had 3).  I have a 4-person (2m+2w) version we’ve toured to schools, and the version with 2w+2m+3either that incorporates the audience-choice endings.

Tales of Uncle Remus
Children will meet Uncle Remus as he recreates Br’er Rabbit, Fox, Bear and the Tarbaby in fresh adaptations of these wise and classic tales.  Adapted by Lynn Goya, music by Igor

The Snow Queen
Set in the icy regions of Northern Russia, an evil giant shatters a magic mirror which scatters over the earth.  A tiny sliver lodges in the heart of Gerda’s best friend, Kay, who is then stolen away by the formidable Snow Queen.  With only love as a weapon, little Gerda sets out to rescue her friend before his heart is frozen forever. Adapted by Phyl Manning, music and lyrics by Phyl and Ivan Manning, with additional music by KL Brisby

“Eloquent and imaginative and never dumb.  Above all, it’s children’s theater that never condescends to its audience.” LA JOLLA LIGHT 12-8-83, C. Schneider

 

“Charming…nigh perfect.” BLADE-TRIBUNE 12/8/83, G Weinberg-Harter

Journey to the Earth and Back Again
Ishibozo the Samurai Clown is a space wanderer who takes a break in his travels to visit a little planet we all know.  It’s a modern space fantasy of a young boy’s search for his true identity.  By Alan Goya, with music by KL Brisby

Peter and the Wolf & Little Red Too
By Lynn Goya, music by Sergei Prokofiev adapted by KL Brisby

“Charming and funny and not a bit sticky-sentimental.” LA JOLLA LIGHT, 6/2/83, C. Schneider

Pinocchio
adapted and music by KL Brisby

This is a commedia-esque version written to tour, with puppets and live actors (appropriate, huh?) 3m+2w

“Refreshing, stimulating, often inspired.” PARENT’S PRESS, 10/83 C. Robin

 

“Colorful adaptation with plenty of action!” DOWNTOWN, 12/13/82 H. Harper

Isle of Ponape
by KL Brisby

An undersea comedy, adapted or “lovingly ripped off from” Midsummer Night’s Dream. One hour, 2 narrators and 6 puppeteers.

Full-length (use the Contact form to request script and licensing options)

Revolución: The Dream of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata
by KL Brisby, music by Gustavo Rodriguez

Red, White & Blacklisted: The Posthumorous Memoirs of Lee Hays
by KL Brisby, music by Lee Hays and American history

“Superb political solo piece” CENTER STAGE/KSDS 88.3, P. Launer

PRICK: The Musical Paul Gauguin
by KL Brisby, music by Opetaia Foai, Quino McWhinney, Francisco Astudillo, Quintin Holi, Stu Shames, Rhys Green, and KL Brisby
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“The book doesn’t flinch at showing the artist’s sides and conflicts…music ranges from very good to wonderful…could have a long life to come.”  THE READER 11/13/2011 J. Smith

 

 

Stories of the Sun Cafe
by Thelma de Castro, Gingerlily Lowe, Harold Ito, Carol Cabrera, Joyce Teague, KL Brisby

Quetzalcoatl
by KL Brisby, music by Quino McWhinney

The Weavers Song
by KL Brisby, music of American history
weaversSong
A docu-musical about the social politics that powered Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and the Weavers to the top of the pop music charts, and just as swiftly crushed them in a wave of anti-Communist hysteria. 10m+6w, children. (Produced as workshop by Teatro Máscara Mágica in San Diego.)

Tea Stories
adapted by KL Brisby & Gingerlily Lowe

Real “story theater” script with 6 episodes.  Audience given tea and stories retold with organic mix of real costumes, props, and narration.

A Few Hours in Hell
written and music by Stu Shames, additional material by KL Brisby

Inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s guess that “Hell is full of musical amateurs,” seven deadly sinners battle each other and a sadistic host for one last chance at redemption. 5w+4w. (Multiple productions in San Diego and Philadelphia.)

“Wry and wacky…songs run the gamut from wickedly funny to poignant.” Blade-Citizen Preview 3/22/90, P. Stein

 

“Terrific, tastelessly amusing” LA JOLLA LIGHT 3/29/90, C. Schneider

 

“Infectiously melodic” LOS ANGELES TIMES 3/22/90, K. Herman

 

“Every musical number is a triumph.  Want some fun? Go to HELL!”  R.Padilla

 

“Frothy and peppy…so tuneful, charmingly ramshackle, and entertaining the production wins you over.”  THE DAILY AZTEC 3/21/90, D. Moye

String of Pearls
Adapted by KL Brisby and Rafael Melendez from original melodrama by George Dibdin Pitt

“Good-humored, unpretentious, sly evening of theatrical fun.”  SAN DIEGO UNION, 6/14/80 M. Savage

 

“Marvelous language…For all it’s cartoonish qualities, there is a serious emotional core.  The authors parody and also make it work.  String of Pearls captures the imagination, and reactivates the child in all of us.”  SAN DIEGO READER, 6/26/80, C. Schneider

Celebrations: An African Odyssey
by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, music by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, KL Brisby and Lawrence Czoka

A simple fable of abduction into slavery and eventual homecoming, in early 19th century America. 6m+6w, chorus. (Staged 20+ times, various producers, mainly eastern seaboard.)

Faustus 
adapted and music by KL Brisby & Gregory Welch

Evergrim tale of hubris and its ultimate consequence, adapted from material by Goethe and Marlowe. 2m+2w. (First produced by Masque in San Diego, CA.)

“Reverent, intelligent, and appropriate…thoughtful, imaginative, intellectually and theatrically satisfying.”  SAN DIEGO UNION 6/24/79 M. Savage

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