Travis Park is a high school English teacher and the only Korean American man living in a dusty cowboy town known as Breakneck, Wyoming. And when a gorgeous, whip-smart Asian American woman moves into town, he immediately falls for her; the only problem is that she only dates white men.
In this savagely funny and often moving comic re-telling of Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC, one man must choose allegiance between his cowboy friend (a dim, handsome, Caucasian P.E. teacher named Del) and his Asian Brother-with-a-Capital-B (crazed, militant Asian of Unknown Origin, Chester). He must choose between the Asian American and the American within himself – between COWBOY VS. SAMURAI – in a pursuit of a love that may only be as real as the love letters he writes for someone else.
The world premiere of Cowboy Versus Samurai was produced by NAATCO, the National Asian American Theater Company, in New York City in November, 2005. Since then it has been produced in Minneapolis (Mu Performing Arts), Seattle (SiS Productions), San Francisco (AATC), Vancouver, British Columbia (VACT), San Diego, California (Mo’olelo), Dallas, Texas, and in Hong Kong by the Looking Glass Theater Company.
Cowboy was selected by the Tribeca Film Instititute for its All Access Open Stage Program, and is available in print in Smith and Kraus’s New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2006 and The Best Stage Scenes of 2006.
With requisite moments of truth, hilarity, and despair, [Cowboy Vs. Samurai] is a thoughtful, thoroughly compelling piece of theater.
~ Amy Krivohlavek
A very funny, very pertinent, and very smart riff on Rostand’s classic romance ‘Cyrano De Bergerac’.
~ Martin Denton
A hilarious commentary on racial stereotypes under the umbrella of a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac love story.
~ Molly Lori
Shrewd and droll… [A] sure, mature drama that emerges from behind the mask of puerile comedy.
~ Robert Avila
Explores culture, stereotypes and self-hatred with sharp wit and frequent wisdom… “Cowboy Versus Samurai” shouldn’t be pigeonholed as an Asian play or a work about race — it is much more a story about friendship, love and belonging.
~ Jennifer Chung
Cowboy Versus Samurai is a blast… A hilarious and lighthearted look at interracial dating and the forging of personal identity.
~ Winnie Wong
As played by Jose Abaoag, Chester is sometimes ludicrous and sometimes touching and always desperate… As Travis, Ray Tagavilla is a fascinating mix of pride and humility, goodwill and fear… Director Miko Premo’s staging is engaging and entertaining… The cowboys are gone, the samurai are gone. Their places have been taken by globalized existential angst.
~ Joe Adcock
A gentle, genial, frequently wise comedy of character and race… Yee-haws all around!
~ Alexis Soloski
‘Race has nothing to do with being attracted to someone,’ says Travis, the protagonist of Michael Golamco’s Cowboy Vs. Samurai. But in this witty, satiric comedy, that statement is challenged over and over again… This play is ultimately as much about friendship as it is about love.
~ Dan Bacalzo
Nimble, conversational and contemporary… Funny yet sweet… The cast can’t go wrong because the playwright got it so right.
~ Christy DeSmith
A smart script with lots of laughs and plenty of poignancy… Delves into questions of identity, prejudice, and the complexity of love that will resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.
~ Renee Valois
With a solid cast, [Cowboy Vs. Samurai] promises to be the kind of topical social commentary with a sharp tang of humor that Mu does well.
~ Quinton Skinner
Cowboy Vs. Samurai: I loved this play… I highly recommend it, whether you have pressing emotional concerns or not, as it is a grandly wonderful distraction.
~ Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid