Gunpowder Man

Rated 4.0

The viewpoint character in this Rick Foster historical play is Little Tiger, a Chinese immigrant moving through the unruly California frontier disguised as a teenage boy. She becomes one of the expendables lowered down a cliff in a wicker basket, planting an explosive charge to blast a path for the rails. The transcontinental railroad, built with Chinese labor, was a great achievement. But Little Tiger’s story also covers the bitter aftermath, when the railroad barons no longer needed the Chinese for cheap labor, and many white Californians persecuted the Asian immigrants. Actress Jennifer Ly, a Sac State student, gives a spunky, winning solo performance. This is a small show, 55-minutes long, but it’s well-written, well-grounded in our collective past, and solidly entertaining.
California Stage; 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (no show Friday, November 23); $10 general, $5 teachers. 1723 25th St., (916) 451-5822. Through November 25.