“White Sky, Falling Dragon” – 白天落龍

a new play by Steve “Spike” Wong, Premiering August 2022 AT Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts SecondStage

Original Wong family portrait.
Ernie is the tallest one in the back row. Johnny is on the far right, standing.
Ma and Pop (as his sons called him) are seated.

Soaring Dragon Endeavors is currently in production for “White Sky, Falling Dragon.”
Written by Steve “Spike” Wong, this play presents the return home of a Chinese American young 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 his struggle to be an American in a traditional Chinese home, with the emotional difficulty of striving to overcome 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 a unique work written by a 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, with factual references from their lives, 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 includes some of the finest stage theater talent in the SF Bay Area.

  • Producer: Joan Van Antwerp.
  • Director: Spike Wong/Soaring Dragon Endeavors.
  • Assistant Director & Stage Manager: Buff McKinley.
  • Production Design: Cheryl L. Wong.
  • Set Design: Scott Boynton.
  • Lighting Design & Master Electrician: Lucas Ward.
  • Master Carpenter: Jeff Boylan.
  • B-17 Design & Construction: Dan Garrett/Strong Arm Tech.
  • B-17 Graphic Artist: Diana Greene Garrett.
  • Music Composer: James Francisco, Ph.D.
  • Sound Design & Videography: Davis Banta/Right Hand Creative.
  • Graphic Design: Buff McKinley. Original poster design by Jennifer Sears Design, San Anselmo, CA
  • Cantonese Dramaturg/Coach: Wynne Chan.

The cast is comprised of Asian stage actors from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Ernie: Winston Wang
  • Ma: Cynthia Dear
  • May: Yin Yin Liow
  • Pop: Steve “Spike” Wong
  • Eddie: Tristan Ahn
  • Airfield Crewman: Jon Oleson

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, with original art by Diana Greene Garrett.

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 world premiere performances of “White Sky, Falling Dragon“: Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at 7:30 pm / Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 at 7:30 pm / Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022 at 3 pm / Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm / Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 at 7:30 pm / Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 at 3 pm / Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm / Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022 at 3 pm.

Playwright and director Steve “Spike” Wong discusses the play’s concept and the character breakdowns in this call for actors video:

The playwright discusses family history and dynamics.
The play’s concept and character descriptions
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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