BWW Blog: Cassandra Hsiao - Opening Nights and Goodbyes: Looking Back on SUPERMARKET OF LOST
One year and four months.
That is how long I've lived in the cosmic warehouse called the Supermarket of Lost, where the world's lost items end up on shelves. That is how long I've wandered the mystical aisles discovering the oddest things people lose or choose to let go of-from passports to The Beatles vinyl records to beads of inspiration to memories. That is how long I've spent with Austin, Hailee, and Violet, watching them grow into who they're meant to be without aging a single day.
I wrote "Supermarket of Lost" in October, 2015 for my school's 10-Minute Playfest. Since then, I've watched my characters come to life at school, in New York, in Hollywood, and most recently at the San Diego Old Globe.
After working through countless rewrites with my Playwrights Project director George Ye and feeding into the collaborative energy that the cast brought with their suggestions and improvisations, I can confidently say that the latest script of "Supermarket" is the most mature, developed, and impactful version it has ever been. Rewrites were hard. Nights, my heart cries for the tragedy that will haunt Austin for the rest of his life, Hailee's limited time on Earth, and Violet's struggles with feeling alone. Yes, at the end of the day, my characters are fiction, but they are no less real than you or me because twelve actors will always hold a piece of them in their hearts, and hundreds of audience members were witness to their story.
With every production, I gain something new as a playwright-like how a simple line switch gives an entirely different meaning to a scene or how a question mark or a period can make all the difference. But more importantly I learn something invaluable as a human being-our need to exchange stories will never be extinguished. Theater unites a room of strangers in reminding us to live deliberately. Now more than ever, we need theater to bring people together in the name of empathy. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then theater must be the equivalent of a 3,000-pound cannon.
Every production is bittersweet, but this one more than most because I know I am saying goodbye, for now, to Austin, Hailee, and Violet. Opening Night, ironically, was the closure to a chapter in my life. Onwards now to new projects and plays-but I will never forget my time in the Supermarket of Lost.
"Theatre doesn't last. Only in people's memories and in their hearts. That's the beauty and the sadness of it. But that's life: beauty and sadness. And that is why theatre is life." - Sherie Rene Scott
Don't miss your last chance to see "Supermarket of Lost" as part of Program A produced by Playwrights Project in association with The Old Globe in San Diego. The 32nd season of Plays By Young Writers runs from January 19 to 29, 2017.
Click below for more information and to purchase tickets:
Director: George Ye
Cast: Roberto Castillo, Gabrielle Korte, Olivia Wiese and Michelle Trester
A very special thank you to Ruff Yeager and Cecelia Kouma for their support along with every single person at Playwrights Project and the Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Family Fund.
The cast and playwright of "Supermarket of Lost" take their bows. Courtesy of Cassandra Hsiao
Plays by Young Writers. Courtesy of Playwrights Project