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Budding Buddhas 

Wednesday, Feb 6 2013
For nearly 50 years, members of Buddha’s Universal Church have been writing and performing plays in alternating Cantonese and English verse. Some of the productions, like this year’s Turmoils at Professor Ming’s Mansion, follow characters such as Golden Pearl, a spoiled rich girl determined to destroy the life of the orphan White Peony, who has inadvertently befriended Pearl’s heartthrob. If you didn’t catch last year’s thrashing of Peony, don’t worry; each play stands on its own and is, in essence, a morality tale filled with fabulous costumes, extravagant makeup, modern Chinese dance, and great mixed martial-arts fight scenes. Arrive early to get a good look at the building, which is considered the largest Buddhist church in America. Housed on the site of an old nightclub, which was bought in 1951, razed due to structural damage, and rebuilt by the congregation’s own hands (materials were paid for with cookie sales), it boasts a giant ship-like altar, a rooftop garden, bamboo chapel, mosaic tile, gold-leaf Buddhas, and a mirror room for dance and choir rehearsals.
Sat., Feb. 16, 2 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 17, 2 p.m.; Sat., March 2, 2 p.m.; Sun., March 3, 2 p.m.; Sat., March 9, 2 p.m.; Sat., March 16, 2 p.m., 2013

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Silke Tudor.

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