Plays

Use the Contact form to request script and licensing options for any show.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CYCLE PLAYS, ONE-ACT & TOURING

1: Year of the Rat
The Rat Race
The busy rat has no time for a race through the jungle, no matter what the prize. But when a friend asks for help, naturally the rat answers. Together they arrive somewhere neither of them imagined. Written to be performed on blackwall. 3 actors, w or m

2: Year of the Ox
Ox-tail Super
Fighting the exhausting tradition of low expectations, the Ox sees a chance to change his place forever. And he’ll do it alone–or not at all! 3 actors, m or w

3: Year of the Tiger
Head of the Tiger

In the race for the Jade Emperor’s approval, the powerful Tiger hides and stalks his competition. Thoroughly audience interactive, this is a game everyone can play. 3 actors, m or w, plus up to 12 audience depending on age.

4: Year of the Rabbit
Year of the Carabbit
adapted and music by KL Brisby

A playful and informative confrontation, when contradictory traditions from across Asia combine. The incoming Chinese Rabbit fights 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.

5: Year of the Dragon
Dragon Tails
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. Written to incorporate shadow and multi-person puppets.  2m+1w.

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

The musical story of the snake who buddies up with another animal, racing each other to be celebrated in Lunar New Year tradition.  The Snake shares the legend of the magical White Snake–who may or may not be the storyteller herself.  Audience participation determines the story’s outcome. 2m+1w.

7: Year of the Horse
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.

8: Year of the Ram
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.

9: Year of the Monkey
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 imprison Monkey forever! It’s a tough way to welcome the Year of the Monkey. 2m+2w.

10: Year of the Rooster
Child of Dragons
A child struggles to live up to the expectations of its legendary parents, finally discovering a path of its own. 2 actors, w or m.

11: Year of the Dog
Fu Dog Fu
Facing new friends in a new place, a young girl discovers she can tap into her roots to stand up to challenges all around–and even within herself.  Script written to include kung fu, gymnastics and ukulele.  2w+1m

12: Year of the Pig
PIGTalk
Three friends gather to retell their new musical version of the Monkey King and his underappreciated superstar partner, Pigsy.  3 actors who play instruments, at least 1 m.

ONE-ACT/ONE-HOUR FAMILY SHOWS

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 to incorporate fire effects.  3m+2w

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

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

Doctor Quynh & the Water Puppets
adapted by KL Brisby

Trang Quynh is a Vietnamese 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)

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.)

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 is more deserving.  Mixed cast of 13, plus 3 little kids.

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.

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

Journey to the Earth and Back Again
By Alan Goya, with music by KL Brisby

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.

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, when strict social castes and religion arrived from Tahiti.  Controversial among the island communities, but spiritual and fun.  George Kahumoku (on all 3 Hawaiian CDs to win Grammy awards) wrote the score.  8m+6w (Produced by Asian Story Theater in San Diego CA)

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.  “Journey to the West” is based on the journal of the actual monk who made this trip around the 9th century, and is credited with introducing real Buddhism to China.

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 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

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

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

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. 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

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.

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, funny and character-illuminating.  4m+2w+2-or-more extras

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.)

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)

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

“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

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.)

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)

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

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.  2w+2m+boy

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

There and Home Again, More Stories from the Sun Cafe
by multiple authors

Focusing on the San Diego Japanese American lives turned upside down by their political incarceration during WWII. The broad politics of this dark episode remain painful and controversial. Less familiar are the practical considerations of San Diegans returning home from their political imprisonment. These are the personal stories of the children and families, returning to the neighborhoods and schools they never chose to leave.  2w+2m suggested.

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.

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

WS98

The White Snake (Asian Story Theater 1998)

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. At the pivotal juncture the audience elects the most correct ending.  2w+2m+3 additional.  Shorter 2w+2m version available.

FULL-LENGTH SHOWS (use the Contact form to request script and licensing options)

Revolución: The Dream of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata
by KL Brisby, music by Moises Vazquez

Full-blooded musical retelling of the two most iconic and potent figures in Mexican history.  Villa from the north demanding freedom from virtual slavery, Zapata from the south determined to reclaim ancestral homes and farms from the corrupt 1%.  REVOLUCIÓN is when the poor won’t take it any more, and the rich must run for their lives.

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.)

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 (part 1 of Artrilogy)
by KL Brisby, music by Opetaia Foai, Quino McWhinney, Francisco Astudillo, Quintin Holi, Stu Shames, Rhys Green, and KL Brisby
mpgComposite

“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

From its origin as the Obayashi shooting gallery to the downtown institution it became under the Jeong family, the Sun Cafe watched generations of Japanese American and Chinese American families take their place in San Diego.

Halo-Halo: Mixed-Together Stories from San Diego’s Filipino American Community
by multiple authors

A moving and eye-opening window into San Diego. Drawn from historical research and personal interviews, Halo-Halo tells stories that explore Filipino American’s culture and traditions, along with the struggles and triumphs every audience shares with this fascinating and fast-growing community. Themes include pageants, politics, and celebrity, plus historical firsts, comedy, dance and some serious social issues! Up to 6m+6w, suggested.

Quetzalcoatl
by KL Brisby, music by Quino McWhinney

A magical trio of episodes from Mexico’s past.  Conquistadore slog through the jungle and swamps to confront Monctezuma, who awaits their arrival with tragic misunderstanding.  At the border today, a holding cell of undocumented immigrants includes one very un-ordinary traveler.  In the future, a traveling musical circus doubles as a freedom train for Americans to cross into the Free-zone of Mexico.  Large flexible cast.

Tea Stories
adapted by KL Brisby & Gingerlily Lowe

Real “story theater” script with 6 episodes.  The Great Bell, Candlewick Fairy, Kuan Yin Goddess of Mercy, more.  Suggested the audience be 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.)

The Yellow Hell of Vincent Van Gogh (part 2 of Artrilogy)
by KL Brisby, music by Stu Shames

From its origin as the Obayashi shooting gallery to the downtown institution it became under the Jeong family, the Sun Cafe watched generations of Japanese American and Chinese American families take their place in San Diego.

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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