Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon: A Sound, Movement and Lighting Experience

photo by Joseph Yoon

By William Kustiono

Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! represents a folklore battle between good versus evil. The story revolves around a She-Wolf, raised assassin by a brutal conspirator. As the story goes on the young female assassin discovers that her target has spun the empire of Japan into crisis and is surprisingly none other than her father (The Rogue Assassin). Once she finds out about her father, now she has to choose between her loyalty to the nation or her soul as a daughter.

photo by Corky Lee

Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! was inspired and adapted from the 1970s Japanese cult manga and movies hit, Lone Wolf and Cub by Kozure Ookami. The two co-writers, Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff, collaborated and combined the artistic story of exceptional martial arts and sword fighting with the traditional Japanese music and Afro-Asian jazz music. Music is the force behind the magnificent play of Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!. However, Fred takes on another role in the production of the show as the music composer. This act defies the traditional ways by using music to guide the scene. What is most unique about this tactic the characters normally have the opportunity to impro, allowing acting freedom and unique showings. Fred also leads an inspirational life. Seven years ago, Fred Ho was diagnosed with cancer. With multiple rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries and specialized nutritional diets, it doesn’t prevent him from producing a show.

photo by Kenji Mori

Sonoka Kawahara (production and artistic director of Crossing Jamaica Avenue), Yoshi Amao (sword fighting and martial arts choreographer),  Emmanuel Brown (sword fighting and martial arts choreographer), Anka Lupes (production design), and Chad McArver (lighting) heavily contributed to the success of Deadky She’World Assassin at Armageddon! In their respective specialized fields. These people have heavily contributed their time and knowledge to the success of Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!. There are a high standard of music in the stage along with visual references. The costumes provided by Lupe have created a different visual image to the audience bringing a modern anime-like characterization to the stage. The choreographers have created live-action battle scenarios unmatched by other performances. They have successfully engulfed our attention with an amazing set of fights by using virtuous fighters.

photo by Kenji Mori

The producers included different cultural practices in this play. The characters portrayed in the show resembles the Hong Kong martial arts especially She-Wolf (she was not raised by her parents, she was rather raised by a wolf or an old man. There was turmoil and she was forced to join the path of destruction). She-Wolf physical characteristics in the show resemble Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh from “The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Although she is not as agile as Zhang Ziyi and as brilliant as Michelle Yeoh, she can match their fighting skills. In the show, there is also a band of mercenaries named “The 3 Armageddon, Inc Superwarriors”(Bok Mei Lotus by Teake, Colonel Ulysses Sam Armageddon by Luca Nicora, and Qaseem the Killing Machine by Jerry Ford) which resembles East meets West fighters and showcase some amazing Matrix-like slow motion movements. With a unique combination of Hong Kong and Japanese martials, the scenes created where original and refreshing.

The most scripted character in this show is definitely the Narrator Marina Celander. With nearly 80 minutes worth of lines to memorize, she has to change voices to cater to all the characters she portrays from the boy, to the She-wolf, to the Iyagu. How impressive!

photo by Kenji Mori

Overall, Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! provides the audience with an interesting blend between martial arts and mixture of Japanese traditional and Afro-Asian Jazz music. Lovers of Japanese culture and martial arts enthusiasts are recommended to see this brilliant performance and artistic music. You can catch the performances now until June 2 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th St.) in NYC. For more info and to listen to music excerpts from the show visit http://www.CrossingJamaicaAvenue.org

You can catch the performances now until June 2 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th St.) in NYC. For more info and to listen to music excerpts from the show visit http://www.CrossingJamaicaAvenue.org

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photo by Kenji Mori

photo by Kenji Mori

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