Wednesday, November 2, 2022. Minetta Lane, Manhattan, New York – I attended Audible Theater’s newest play, “Good Enemy”, written by Audible Theater’s emerging Playwright, Yilong Liu and directed by Obie Award winner, Chay Yew. A father is conflicted once he discovers that closing the doors of his past has caused him to alienate himself from his daughter in the play Good Enemy.
Yilong Liu’s atmospheric new play, sets the opening scene with two bickering men en route a cross-country road trip. With the aid of his daughter’s aimless ex-boyfriend, Dave, performed by Alec Silver (Temping), Howard, played by lead actor, Francis Jue, acts impulsively and makes a cross country road trip from California to New York to surprise his daughter, Momo, played by Geena Quintos, (SoftPower, Emojiland). After coming across scantily clad posts on Momo’s Tik-Tok account, Howard immediately expresses his concern by showing up on her doorstep, unannounced. To her frustration, and his disdain, Howard also discovers his college-aged daughter is a young woman of his own (and her late mother’s) heart; inserting herself into political social causes that could jeopardize her life.
Howard’s internal war forces him to confront the dynamics of their relationships as a result of his reluctance to share the memories of his life as a young man in Communist controlled China. As a father, he is faced with the shame of his past and the possible accusation of treason and disloyalty to his own country. Howard wants to keep Momo safe and warns her of the dangers in taking part in political protests, even peaceful demonstrations, for the sake of her “being a voice” for a world that will not hesitate to silence hers.
This play was beautifully written and wonderfully depicted by each of the actors, each character haunted with their own battle of “Good” vs evil “Enemy” struggle. The minimalistic backdrop on stage allowed the attention to remain centered on the actors who were tasked to use the inflection of voice, synergy of their interactions, and vivid imagination to paint the scene for the viewing and listening audience. The storyline explored human connections in various ways; from the western influences regarding cohabitation when Howard discovers Momo has a “white- live in boyfriend”, performed by actor Ryan Spahn (Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow); whose comedic verve reminded us of the many great ways to use Google; to the discomfort Howard faced recapping how he met, courted and fell for Momo’s mother, Jiahua portrayed by Jeena Yi (Network, Somebody’s Daughter) who gave an engaging performance; and
commanding officer Xiong, played by Ron Domingo (The American Pilot, “As The World Turns”) internal war centered on a man who was socially and politically forced to repress his sexual nature to survive and protect his family from being shamed, arrested or murdered.
Good Enemy intermingles the age old tale and trial of two generations, two continents, worlds apart in their values, yearning to find common ground for the greater good of all. Good Enemy illustrates a lesson in creating boundaries for our self evident truths and the distances we travel, figuratively and geographically to ensure our right of the freedom to shape our lives any way we want. The overarching message I gathered from this play is that neither government nor governing bodies (parents, legal guardians and those in authoritative roles) can deny us our innate need to find peace in our selves, even to the point of risking our lives.
Tim Liu (“Nepotism”) as Hao, the character whose storyline reveals the earlier days of Howard’s life leading up to his escape as a political refugee and rogue militant, does a splendid job in warming our hearts up to favoring the and understanding the stern nature he adopts in his latter years.
Good Enemy features scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee, costume design by Mel Ng, lighting design by Reza Behjat, sound design by Mikhail Fiksel and fight/intimacy direction by Dave Anzuelo/Unkle Dave’s Fight-House. Casting by X Casting Victor Vazquez, CSA. Merrick AB Williams is the production stage manager. Technical supervision is by Hudson Theatrical Associates with general management by Baseline Theatrical‘s Andy Jones and Jonathan Whitton.
Good Enemy (runtime 1 hour & 45 minute) is showing at 18 Minetta Lane (between Bleecker and West 3rd Street), New York, NY and will be playing from the dates of October 25th – November 27th at Minetta Lane Theater, the home of Audible Theatre!