Lee/gendary, presented by HERE Theatre
Created and performed by SOOMI KIM
Lee/gendary will premiere at HERE Theater on
When Bruce Lee was born, his mother gave him a girl’s name to disguise him from evil spirits. When actor/performing artist Soomi Kim learned this surprising fact, she felt destined to create a theatre performance inhabiting the incomparable martial arts superstar.
Set in the inner landscape of Bruce Lee’s mind the moment he died in 1973, Lee/gendary is a theatrical deconstruction of an icon; a spiritual and psychological examination of Lee’s life from birth to death. This unique gender-bending theatre performance fluidly integrates text, live original music, video and an explosive hybrid of martial arts and dance.
Lee/gendary’s efforts are the result of a dedicated collaboration with Kim. This group of talented artists includes: Derek Nguyen (playwright, NYFA recipient, author of full length play Monster, produced by East West Players), Suzi Takahashi (director, artistic director of performance group, Ex.p Girl) and Jen Shyu (composer, instrumentalist and vocalist with Steve Coleman’s Five Elements) with additional recorded music by Adam Rogers (acclaimed composer/guitarist). This piece features Kim as Lee as well as 5 other actor/martial artists: Shing Ka, Walker Lewis, Constance Parng, Ariel Shepley and Pai Wang.
Lee/gendary was first presented at HERE’s The American Living Room Festival 2006 as a work-in-progress, directed by David Perry with fight choreography by Rafael Kayanan (The Hunted and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).
In December 2006, Lee/gendary was accepted as one of the few projects by an individual artist to represent NYC in The First National Asian American Theater Festival held in New York City which ran June 11 - 24, 2007. Lee/gendary enjoyed a successful run at The Beckett theater on Theatre Row, June 19th-21st. The last show was sold out and received a rave review from nytheatre.com:
Then, there is Kim, who is outstanding as Lee. Hers is a convincing performance of rigorous physicality and impressive commitment. She scores big points in the case for non-traditional gender casting by showing that the key to such successes lies in having the right attitude. Oh boy, does she have the attitude! As Lee himself says early in the play, "Champions are made from something inside them." Kim's performance proves that.
-Michael Criscuolo, nytheatre.com
Since 1993, the OBIE-winning HERE Arts Center has been a premier arts organization in NYC and a leader in the field of new, hybrid performance work. Under the artistic leadership of Kristin Marting, HERE has served 11,000 emerging to mid-career artists developing work that does not fit a conventional programming agenda. The executive leadership of HERE is now shared with Producing Director Kim Whitener, who recently joined HERE after 12 years of working in the downtown theater producing scene. Work presented at HERE has garnered 10 OBIE awards, an OBIE grant for artistic achievement, three Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, two NY Innovative Theatre Awards, an Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. HERE was awarded a $500,000 federal grant by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a $500,000 grant from the September 11th Fund, and a $600,000 capital grant from the City of New York. Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kristin Marting was honored with a 2005 BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. HERE is proud to support artists at all stages in their careers through full productions, artist residency programs, festivals and subsidized performance and rehearsal space. Work at HERE is curated based on the strength and uniqueness of the artist’s vision. In 2005, with the support of FJC, a foundation of donor advised funds, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York, HERE purchased its long-time home as part of a five-year “Secure HERE’s Future” campaign.