BWW Review: AUBERGINE at Everyman Theatre is a Touching Drama
Korea seems to be "in" at the moment. There was the magnificent Winter Olympics in South Korea with the amazing Opening and Closing ceremonies.
Then there is the mega hit of a film "The Black Panther" which is partly filmed in South Korea.
Add to this is the play AUGERGINE by Korean-American playwright Julia Cho about family, food, and memory.
Who would want to see play called "Eggplant". But that is the name of this play, AUBERGINE which in the Korean language is "Eggplant". When I saw the title I thought it was a French play, similar to many French films. I'm sure I was not alone. I only wish it had a different title.
Eggplant does in fact play a part in the play so it is truly understandable.
The play opens with a Everyman's Megan Anderson (Diane) espousing a monologue that deals with a mouth watering pastrami sandwich her father used to make. Believe it not, I had just had a pastrami sandwich for dinner. Yes, I laughed. The play is full of monologues and they are all work well.
Anderson doubles as a doctor who informs an American of Korean descent "Ray" (the talented Tony Nam) that his father (Glenn Kubota) is ready for hospice care. This obviously is a troubling circumstance. Via the clever use of flashbacks, father and son reminisce about life in the past. They have a huge disagreement when Ray, who is a talented French taught Chef, uses his father emergency credit card to buy an expensive knife for $1,900.
The nurse in charge of hospice care, "Lucien", has an accent which may in fact come from Haiti (it is not mentioned). Jefferson A. Russell who I have had the pleasure of seeing in numerous plays, really shines in this sensitive role as Ray's father's care-taker. In fact it is Lucien who brings an eggplant from his garden to give to Ray. He also brings a live turtle to "Ray" to make turtle soup. "Lucien" truly aids "Ray" who suffers from dealing with a beloved father about to die.
"Ray" does have a girl friend, the sensuous "Cornelia"(Eunice Bae in a complex role) who will be responsible for calling Ray's Uncle in Korea (Song Kim who shines in this role) who speaks no English to come to say good-bye to his brother. When he speaks in Korean, supertitles in English appear on the rear wall of the stage.
The play deals with the love of food, of memorable meals, and family and it successfully does this.
This touching play is directed by Vincent A. Lancisi with sensitivity. Costumes are by Ivania Stack, Sound by Roc Lee, Scenic Design by Misha Kachman, Lighting by Harold F. Burgess II, and Projection Designer is Zachary Borovay.
AUBERGINE continues until April 15, 2018. For tickets, call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org.
Everyman features a film for each production which complements the play. Next Tuesday, you can see the great film "Big Night" at 7 p.m. at the Parkway Theatre. It stars Stanley Tucci and Tony Shaloub (now starring in the Broadway hit musical THE BAND'S VISIT
Next at Everyman is THE BOOK OF JOSEPH which runs May 9 to June 10, 2018.
I actually saw this co-production at the Olney Theatre Center. Here is some information about Olney.
The great Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs on Saturday, June 2, 2018 celebrating Olney's 80th Anniversary Gala. For tickets, contact Wesley Meekins at 301-924-4485. EXT 130 or email email@example.com.
Friday night encores-style concert series called "Applause":
ANYONE CAN WHISTLE Fri. Oct. 12, 2018
FINIAN'S RAINBOW Fri. March 15, 2019
CHILDREN OF EDAN Fri. August 2, 2019
Their season is as follows:
SOUTH PACIFIC - Aug. 3 to Oct. 7
LABOR OF LOVE - Sept. 26 to Oct. 28
ELF THE MUSICAL - Nov. 9 to January 6, 2019
ONCE - Feb. 6 to March 10, 2019
OIL - Feb. 27 to March 31
A COMEDY OF TENORS - April 10 to May 12, 2019
THE MARY STUART PROJECT - May 8 to June 9, 2019
RONALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL - June 21 to July 21, 2019
TIGER STYLE - July 17 to August 15, 2019