Monkey: A Kung Fu Puppet Parable

September 22, 23 & 24 2023
559 Washington St, Boston, MA


MONKEY, A Kung Fu Puppet Parable, is a family friendly transmedia opera combining Bunraku puppetry, computer generated images, and live opera. MONKEY is based on the Chinese quest saga, “Journey to the West,” rewritten to reflect contemporary issues from the multicultural mosaic of American life. Besides the two fundamental operatic elements of text and music, the three main characters - Monkey, Pig (Zhu), and Sandwoman (Sha) - are life sized Bunraku puppets. MONKEY delves into the world of computer generated technology through the use of CGI environs and avatars. Live singers on stage will be the voices of the puppets and avatars.

White Snake Projects' 2023-2024 programming is supported by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation. Our programming is also supported the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mass Cultural Council, the Boston Cultural Council, Reopen Creative Boston Fund, administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Ditson Fund.


A new look at old Monkey, the greatest quest hero from ancient times.

With his comrades-in-arms, Zhu, a heavenly Marshall reincarnated into a Pig for his evil, gluttonous ways, and Sha, once a princess, now a sand monster who devours unwary travelers, this unlikely trio journeys west. They become disciples and protectors of the Monk sent by Buddha to retrieve the holy Sutras in the hopes that this journey will bring each of them their own personal salvation. An ancient Wizard of Oz tale for our times.


Cerise Lim Jacobs Music Box Bird
Deepali Gupta Banana Ketchup
Sokunthary Svay We Meet at the Water
Xu Xi Blue Falls Bridge
jason chu Interludes


The Inspiration

MONKEY is one of those beloved folktales every Asian child grows up with.

It’s supposed to be a Buddhist morality tale but as it’s been handed down over the ages, it’s become a great adventure quest saga. I’ve always wanted to write about dear MONKEY, he of the “monkey mind”, the ever restless, ever-changing, ever curious quicksilver mind. Perhaps I feel some affinity for his plight as all around try to tame him and teach him the virtue of stillness.