Wissahickon High School junior creates play about anti-Asian bias during pandemic

NORTH WALES, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A 16-year-old from North Wales, Pennsylvania is a first-time playwright.

Her subject matter is personal: the racial bias and trauma in the Asian community.

The high school senior's new show is being presented as a radio play.

Katie Lu's play is called "Pandemic."

It's about the pain her community has felt during the pandemic. It was scripted as a stage show but it's being presented as a radio play because theaters are limited in this pandemic.

The Wissahickon High School junior wanted to give this moment a voice. She was writing it in real-time as events unfolded.

"As a Chinese American, it really struck me of all the rhetoric that ostracized Chinese Americans and Asian Americans, painting them as outsiders, painting them as people who are bringing the virus over," Lu says. "It made me question my identity in this country and my place as an American."

Lu wrote "Pandemic" during her time with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights residency program. They chose her work for a full professional production.

"Katie was in the room for the entire process," explains Lisa Nelson-Haynes, the executive director of the Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

"She was very inclusive in hiring and selecting the actors for this particular program. She's in the room doing the rewrites. We turn and we question the playwright, we treat them as a professional playwright," said Nelson-Haynes.

Katie is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She wanted the show to be intergenerational and explore the idea of identity, empathy and hope in a bleak and frightening time.

Pandemic runs through the 28th.
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