Snow in Midsummer

Wrongly-condemned woman gets vengeance on the people who could have saved her!

By Andrew Andrews

Dorcas Leung and Kenneth Lee in Classic Stage Company's production of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s Snow in Midsummer, directed by Zi Alikhan. Original photos by Julieta Cervantes.

A poor widow named Dou Yi is sentenced to death after she is coerced to confess to killing a local factory owner.

At her execution, Dou Yi curses the town of New Harmony, promising three years of drought for the community until her name is cleared. To prove her innocence, she correctly proclaims that snow will fall on her dead body despite it being the middle of summer.

When a single business woman with a young adopted daughter appears to purchase the factory, the unknowing girl dreams about a snow woman named Dou Yi, and pleads with her mother to assist her.

“When a ghost wants something, you have to help,” the child explains. “Bad things happen if you don’t.”

Very-loosely based on Yuan Dynasty poet Guan Hanqing’s Gan Tian Dong Di Dou E Yuan (“the injustice to Dou E that touched heaven and earth”), Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s adaptation re-frames the story around a modern plot with themes of rape, organ donation, and (of course) the murdered factory owner’s abuse of his gay son.

Tommy Bo, John Yi and Fin Moulding (not shown) join Teresa Avia Lim, Alex Vinh, Julian Leong, Paul Juhn and Wai Ching Ho to complete the cast.

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Andrew Andrews attended Snow in Midsummer at Classic Stage Company in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 @ 7:00pm to write this review.