July 17, 2013

Shanghai Blues 1939 - The Graphic Novel

Set in Shanghai in 1939, Mei-mei a nightclub singer gets entangled in the murder of a Japanese Officer and is thrown in jail, in the meantime her boyfriend Lu-xia falls in love with Mei-mei’s sister Go-xin. He then has a spiritual encounter and becomes torn between his conscience and his heart. How will he resolve his struggle?

Did Mei-mei kill Commander Yaguchi? Shanghai Blues (the play) is one half of and duet of plays, its sister play is Shanghai Baby. The focus in Shanghai Baby is more on Go-xin and her ties with the factory workers who are employed in Lu-xia’s factory. The inspiration for these plays came from Ong's asking her father how grandfather came to be a preacher. She was told that her grandfather was a wealthy businessman in Shanghai, living a decadent life, drinking, smoking and perhaps even dancing, which was considered a great sin in those days. 

Lu-xia’s character is based on him and his miraculous healing is the only part of the play that remains true to her grandfather’s story.  Author Laara Ong is an Asian Canadian writer.