Be Like Water

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Be Like Water
World Premiere poster
Written by Dan Kwong
Characters Tracy Fong
Ghost of Bruce Lee
Kimiko Fong
Frank Fong
Bruce Lee
Jeremy Morton
Tina Kawai MacDonald
Two Black-hooded Ninjas
Date premiered September 2008
Place premiered East West Players'
David Henry Hwang Theater
Los Angeles, California
Original language English
Subject Asian American family, identity and oppression, Bruce Lee
Genre Drama, Asian American theatre
Setting Spring, 1978
Chicago - Uptown

Be Like Water (2008) is a play written by Dan Kwong, originally produced at East West Players, in association with Cedar Grove OnStage. The play received its world premiere in Los Angeles on September 17, 2008, directed by Chris Tashima, at East West Players' David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts in Los Angeles.[1] The story follows a young Asian American girl in 1970s Chicago, who is visited by the Ghost of Bruce Lee.

Play summary[edit]

Tracy Fong is a 13-year-old ass-kicking, gung-fu fanatic tomboy, challenged by school bullies, airhead rivals, and a mother who just wants her to be a "normal girl." When bad goes to worse, the Ghost of Bruce Lee appears to teach her the true meaning of strength and the true power of water.[2]


Tracy Fong
13, Chinese Japanese American. Tomboy-ish, tough, quick-tempered, defiant.
Ghost of Bruce Lee
32, Tracy's mentor, Chinese American. The greatest martial artist in the world. Cocky, intense, philosophical yet funny.
Kimiko Fong
38, Tracy's mother, Japanese American. Elegant, tightly-wound, upper-class roots, can go from cheery to icy in a flash.
Frank Fong
35, Tracy's father, Chinese American. Easy going working-class guy, droll sense of humor, not easily angered.
Bruce Lee
13, Tracy's best friend, Chinese American. Scrawny, nerdy, acerbic wit, great disco-dancer. An unapologetic oddball.
Jeremy Morton
14, School bully, Caucasian. Working-class, tough, angry.
Tina Kawai MacDonald
13, Tracy's classmate, Hapa (Japanese Caucasian). Pretty, fashionable dresser, highly groomed, rather superficial.
Two Hooded-Ninjas
Companions of the Ghost in his Nether-world domain.

World Premiere company[edit]

East West Players, Los Angeles, CA; Opened September 17, 2009; Closed October 12, 2009

Original Los Angeles cast[edit]

(in order of appearance)

  • Ghost of Bruce Lee – Cesar Cipriano
  • Tracy – Saya Tomioka
  • Bruce Lee – Shawn Huang
  • Jeremy – Jonathan Decker
  • Frank – Michael Sun Lee
  • Kimiko – Pam Hayashida
  • Tina – Ariel Rivera
  • Hooded Ninjas – Michael Sun Lee, Pam Hayashida, Ariel Rivera, Jonathan Decker

Los Angeles production staff[edit]




  1. ^ a b Be Like Water on EWP site
  2. ^ Be Like Water listing on Playbill site
  3. ^ Garland Critics List[permanent dead link] on Back Stage site - 3/13/09

See also[edit]

Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey

External links[edit]