WIDOW WAN - probably in her 70’s. Well fed, long term survivor, few words (all in Cantonese, usually commands), much power.
VICE PRINCIPAL HUANG - late 20’s, Northern Chinese, educated, vital but guarded. An outsider in Canton.
TEACHER CHEN - 30’s but worn for her years, Cantonese, anxious, kind.
ANDREW BAKER (bai ke) - 20’s, New Yorker, very urban, glib. Wears glasses, no fashion sense.
PAULA WHEATON (wei tan) - 20’s Waspy New Yorker, striking.
PRINCIPAL WANG - 40’s, Cantonese, formal, nervous. The bureaucrat who lives in fear.
LAO WAN - older long-term survivor; few words, much power.
XIAO WAN - 19, but acts younger; assigned to be the American teachers’ maid.
SHERMAN - 20’s, smart-ass student; city kid, privileged, General’s son (can be doubled by Principal Wang).
LINCOLN - student, late teens/20’s, Sherman’s sidekick, cynic (doubled by Vice Principal Huang).
XIAO DA - 20’s, Northern (Hubei) student, female. Studious, serious: a believer (can be doubled by Xiao Wan.)
PEARL - Straight, initially shy student, female, Cantonese (doubled by Teacher Chen).
TEACHER MING - old lady, long hard life; nominal chair of language department (doubled by Widow Wan, her opposite).
- late 30’s, peasant; school maintenance man/worker/electrician
(doubled by Principal Wang). CUSTOMS MAN - Young, modern (doubled by
Vice Principal Huang).