EMPRESS CHARACTER BREAKDOWN
Young Jao (Wu Zeitan)
Mid teens - 20s, female
A concubine to the emperor, she is intelligent and resourceful. She is curious and at times impolite and assertive. She learns fast and adapts to her surroundings including having the love of two of the most powerful men in China. She loves the emperor for his mind, but his son for his passion.
Jao (Wu Zeitan)
She is motivated and acutely equipped to understand the politics of the court and life. She has emerged as a powerhouse, who defends the ones that she loves with a vigor and passion. She is an exquisite woman that centuries of Chinese women will look up to her. She commands every room she walks into, even when she is not the most powerful person there. She is noble and authoritative.
Young Jer (Gaozong), Mid teens, male
A timid bright boy who is adept at understanding the court through his intellect, but utterly unable to play in the political arena. He is generally too nice. He falls head over heels with Jao and is torn apart as he sees her relationship with his father blossom. Yet he would never do anything about it.
He is weak in nature and relentless in his love and devotion. He crumbles under pressure and often times lives in the shadow of others. Lady Wang and later Jao easily manipulate him and guide him. He is happily a puppet to the desires of others.
The body of a warrior, his face is rugged and weathered yet undeniably attractive. A man’s man. His presence is felt in any room he walks in to.
Mid teens, British, female.
A poet and an intellectual. She is cunning and resourceful. She gets herself from Venice to Xian through ingenuity. She is a great listener.
Late teens, female
A stunning willowy woman with delicate features. She commands authority and has an air of arrogance about her. She wields her beauty and nobility well to get what she wants.
A thin tense, nervous woman. Easily manipulated by those around her. She is out of her element as the emperors wife. Though he is not powerful, she is still unable to maneuver him.
The nemesis of Jao in the last act. Wei is driven by thirst for power. Her drive to get power comes from her upbringing. She is a consummate manipulator and very adept at the political climate of the court. Her motivations are always suspect.
Lean and handsome with sharp features. Minister/ Eunuch that brings Jao to the palace and serves as her guide.
The Crown Prince, in line for the throne after Jer. Short, thickly-muscled and care- lessly handsome. An amiable jock.
Jao’s grandson. A striking young man. A warrior and a leader amongst men.