If you expect Michael Golamco’s Cowboy Versus Samurai to consist of B-movie fight scenes, it’s an understandable mistake. In fact, the plot focuses on Travis, one of only two Asian Americans in Breakneck, Wyo., who follows the same path as Cyrano de Bergerac. Golamco’s catchy title refers to an inner conflict, as Travis must choose between his friends Del, the linguistically challenged Caucasian physical education instructor described in the script as “an All-American cowboy,” and Chester, the figurative “samurai,” who overzealously defends the rights of Asian Americans.
New York City’s National Asian American Theatre Company first produced Cowboy Versus Samurai in 2005; it has since been staged around the country. Now Artists at Play, a collective of Asian-American artists with business experience, brings the piece to Los Angeles Sept. 26–Oct. 20. And it fits well with the company’s mission: “We focus on Asian Americans interacting with very universal themes that many Americans face,” says the ensemble’s co-founder and the production’s director, Peter J. Kuo.