Last seen at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2017, Vancouver’s Affair of Honor remounts its production of Qui Nguyen’s Soul Samurai.
Defying easy description, Soul Samurai is the story of Dewdrop, a young samurai in post-apocalyptic Manhattan. On a mission to avenge the death of her lover at the hands of the Long Tooth Gang, she battles burnouts, shoguns, flashbacks and her wise-ass B-boy sidekick just to make it across the Brooklyn Bridge.
In this Q&A with producer, fight choreographer, and actor Jackie T Hanlin we find out more about the show.
This interview has been edited.
What is Soul Samurai about?
Soul Samurai is a love story revenge epic following our hero Dewdrop, a Pilipino vampire slayer out to avenge the death of her lover Sally December.
We dive into a post apocalyptic New York where Gangsters and Vampires reign supreme with steadily increasing territory, and any remaining refuges are dwindling fast. Armed with only her sword and wise cracking b-boy sidekick, Dewdrop fights her way to the boss of all bosses to bring an end to monsters before they bring and end to the world.
This is a fast paced, multimedia piece with high octane fight scenes and sexy AF movement pieces that will leave you hungry for more.
This is a re-mount. Has it been re-worked?
Oh yes. We knew how much farther we would be able to take things with more bodies and more time. We have used our original piece and cast members as a baseline, but we have had the pleasure of exploring and creating totally new pieces to dig deeper into this twisted world.
Our last show was a part of the Fringe festival and provided a great platform for us, but also created tight turn around times that limited our possibility of set and so with the luxury of our location we have been able to work with a new set that is entirely on wheels and moves around almost as much as we do.
What was the process creating the fights and stunts?
Nathania and I work as a team outside and in rehearsals to create each moment of violence. We meet with choreography we have written on our own, combine it with the things we create together and what works best becomes the final piece. We had the pleasure of working in a tumbling gym to work more complicated pieces on sprung floors and crash mats, but as a rule we never create anything for our performers that requires mats or padded flooring in the show. There has been a significant amount of time working proper falling/rolling/tumbling technique on top of all our fight training and safety techniques to keep everyone strong and capable through our 12-show run.
Has Soul Samurai been performed by other companies?
Yes. This show was originally put up with Qui Nguyen’s company Vampire Cowboys, and has been done by other groups including InFusion Theatre company.
Qui’s work has been gaining steady popularity, his most staged production I believe is She Kills Monsters, a Dungeons and Dragons themed epic.
Vampire Cowboys creates fight-based theatre and so its an understatement to say that we are fans.
What do we want the Audience experience to be?
We are creating a piece of theatre that we would want to see. We had multiple comments last year that we changed the minds of non-theatre people and we are excited to do it again.
With our multimedia elements, every moment of the show is full and will have your head on a swivel to try and catch everything our cunning and quick vampires are up to. The show is scored with an incredible hip hop soundtrack, with fantastic film and animation sequences, the stage is dazzlingly lit, elevating our work onstage so you will be utterly immersed in our world. You should walk away pumped up, grooving and emotionally moved.
Soul Samurai plays Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver) November 22 through December 2. Tickets are available online at theatrewire.com.