Antigone Falun Gong
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by David Allen

If you’re looking for a totally unique theatrical experience go see Antigone Falun Gong at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre. Playwright Cherylene Lee creates a magical blend of ancient Greek drama, modern Chinese revolution, and a variety of old and new Eastern practices such as Tai Chi, Wu Shu, Kung Fu, Chinese Opera movement and meditation exercises from the cultivation practice known as Falun Gong.

Sound like more than you can handle in one evening’s entertainment? In most cases this would be true but the playwright’s focus is so clear and full of comic relief that this tragedy provides a graceful journey into history, politics and self-sacrifice without leaving the slightest hint of a bad taste in your soul. Make no mistake about it; this drama will move your mind, body and spirit in ways that will keep you meditating for days.

Based loosely on Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, Antigone, Lee’s play follows a woman who faces death rather than compromising her beliefs. Taking place in China, Lee’s Antigone (Bonnie Akumoto) practices forbidden Falun Gong exercises openly in the city square. The exercises are forbidden because they’re thought to raise the consciousness of the individual. There’s simply no room for the individual in a communist state.

The all-Asian cast moves gracefully across the stage in a martial arts dance resplendent with color. Raul Jocson seems to express the impossible with his movements. Watching him we all wish we were young and limber. Michael Ching and Randall Nakano, as the two government informants, are hilarious in their bureaucratic stumbling. And the silken images of fire burn their way poetically into our hearts. For tickets or more information call (510) 843-4822 or visit

Current / Touring / Archives / Links / Film / Video / Links / Home