Current Endeavor: “White Sky, Falling Dragon” – 苍 天 落 龙

a new play by Steve “Spike” Wong

“White Sky, Falling Dragon” will PREMIERE in 2022.

Staged play reading of “WHITE SKY, FALLING DRAGON” at Center Stage Theater, Santa Cruz, CA. May 2019. (L to R) Spike Wong as Pop, Alie Mac as Ma, and Preston Yeung as Ernie. Directed by Nat Robinson. (photo: Debbie Zehnder)

Soaring Dragon Endeavors is currently engaged in pre-production for “White Sky, Falling Dragon.” Written by Steve “Spike” Wong, this play presents the return home of a Chinese American man from his World War II service as a bombardier in the US Army Air Force. Inspired by Spike’s own father, Captain Ernest Wong, USAAF, the story follows the struggle of a young Asian man trying to be an American in a traditional Chinese home, with the emotional difficulty of striving to overcome a double tragedy during his last mission of the war. In order to begin healing, he must accept one culture in order to gain the other, wherein a secret from the past holds the key to his future.

The inspiration for the play: Captain Ernest Wong, USAAF, at the age of 19. He served as a bombardier/ navigator on B-17 and B-24 bombers.

“White Sky, Falling Dragon” is the first production in the greater Monterey Bay/Santa Cruz area to be written by a local Chinese American playwright and featuring an all-Chinese American cast of characters; the playwright’s father, mother, grandparents and an uncle interact as they did in real life, although the story line of the play is fictional. “White Sky, Falling Dragon” is written in English with some Cantonese and Mandarin used to create mood, authenticity, and poetic elements. The play’s production staff represents some of the finest stage theater talent in Santa Cruz County.

Producer: Joan Van Antwerp. Director: Spike Wong/Soaring Dragon Endeavors. Assistant Director & Stage Manager: Buff McKinley. Production Designer: Cheryl L. Wong. Set Design: Dan Garrett B-17 Design and Construction: Dan Garrett/Strong Arm Tech. B-17 Graphic Artist: Diana Greene Garrett Music Composer: James Francisco, Ph.D. Video Projections and Sound/Filming: Davis Banta/Right Hand Creative. Graphic Design: Jenny Sears/Jennifer Sears Design.

The cast is comprised of Asian stage actors from the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Cruz, and Monterey. Ernie: Winston Wang. Ma: to be announced. May: Jennifer Wang. Eddie: Tristan Ahn. Pop: Spike Wong.

Unique to this production is a set featuring a partial reconstruction of the bombardier’s compartment on a WWII B-17 bomber. These bombers were the workhorses of long-range bombing in the war, and the US Army Air Force suffered tremendous loss of these planes and their flight crews during the war: of the 12,700 B-17’s used in the war, approximately 5,000 were shot down or otherwise lost during operations. Dan Garrett of Strong Arm Tech is creating this one-of-a-kind set piece.

This production includes original music composed by James Francisco, Ph.D. This piece will feature pipa, cello, and percussion in a unique opening to the work. The musicians: Pipa: Shenshen Zhang. Cello: Kristin Garbeff. Percussion: Greg Messa.

We are especially moved by the recent (2021) awarding of a Congressional Gold Medal to all Chinese American veterans of World War II. The medal recognizes, at last, their exceptional military service, especially considering the fact that the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in effect when WWII began. The Congressional Gold Medals were officially presented in Washington, DC, on September 30, 2021. Captain Ernest Wong, USAAF, of Watsonville, California, received his medal posthumously.

On behalf of his father, Captain Ernest Wong, playwright and director Steve “Spike” Wong accepts the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Chinese American Veterans of WWII. Presenting the medal is Major General Darryl Wong (ret.), US Air Force. Washington, DC, Sept. 30, 2021.

The premiere performance of “White Sky, Falling Dragon” is scheduled for production in 2022.

Playwright and director Steve “Spike” Wong discusses the play’s concept and the character breakdowns on this video:

Playwright Steve “Spike” Wong flying in the bombardier’s compartment of a B-17 (the “Nine-0-Nine”) as research and inspiration for “White Sky, Falling Dragon.” He is wearing his father’s flight jacket from 1944. Over 75 years have passed since the jacket’s last flight.
Spike Wong displays his father’s card from WWII in front of the bombardier’s compartment of the B-17 “Nine-0-Nine,” on which Spike flew in May 2018 as research for the play. Below, the “Nine-0-Nine.” The bombardier’s compartment is the plexiglass nose cone, inside of which is the Norden bombsight, which features in the play.

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