BWW Review: ORDINARY DAYS at PMC Daehango Jayu Theater, 'What's Your Big Picture?'
"The Big Apple," "The City of Dreams," and "The City That Never Sleeps," is common nicknames associated with this particular city. Do you know which city it is? Ranking 9 place for the 25 most desirable places to live in the U.S.in 2018; New York City is a dream city not only for Americans but for people all over the globe. However, as glamorous as "living in The Big Apple" sounds like, the reality is that life is difficult for everybody. ORDINARY DAYS the musical send us an invitation to visit the lives of four New Yorkers.
ORDINARY DAYS is a sung-through musical with a total of 21 numbers, all written and composed by Adam Gwon. It had its Off-West End opening in 2008 and Off-Broadway opening in 2009, and starting from 2012, has been performed globally including Paris and Brazil. It has been confirmed that the show will return to Off-Broadway in 2019. This year was the show's first run in Korea, so it gained much interest.
This musical focuses on the lives of four people, Claire, Jason, Deb, and Warren. All of them live in New York City and sing about their uncertain future and depressing status quo. Though their problems seem like individual matters, they all have similarities and later on connect to one and each other. Claire, a woman in her 30s is put into a dilemma when her boyfriend Jason decides to live with her. Jason, Claire's boyfriend is excited about living with Claire and attempts to further their relationship by asking her to marry him. Deb is a grad student in her mid-twenties, struggling to find her focus on life and constantly worried about her "big picture." Last but not least, Warren is an optimistic character who gives out artistic leaflets on the streets of New York City. He later meets Deb, when he finds her missing thesis notes. Out of all of these characters, Warren takes a big significance because not only does he open the show, but he also plays a crucial part in closing the show.
The 21 numbers of ORDINARY DAYS are all played by a single pianist on stage. Including the pianist, the four actors interact with each other and the audience. Therefore, it's also humorous to see how the pianist "acts" as a different role and communicate with the actors. For the role of Claire, Kyeongsun Kim, Younghwa Choi, and Hyena Park were cast. Jason is played by Changyong Lee, Jaeyoung Ahn, and Sungho Na. Jiseong Cho and Ryewon Kim play Deb and Warren are portrayed by 3 actors, Chan Kang, Jihoon Kim, and Jichul Kim. There are two pianists for the entire production and they are Beomjae Lee and Jaechul Cho.
The story of ORDINARY DAYS is unique in that, it was predictable but because so, it was easy to relate with. Though the setting is New York City, the situation that the characters go through and the concerns they have were matters that everybody could easily relate with. Claire's fear of commitment, scared to open up her entire heart for her boyfriend is something that anybody who has been in a relationship could understand. Jason's love for Claire and his frustration when he feels like there is a wall in between him and Claire is a common feeling. For me, Deb's situation was the most understandable. Going to grad school was something that Deb thought would help her reach her "big picture." However, life kept throwing stones at her and still, she doesn't give up. Warren may be the one character that is hard to relate with. An extremely optimistic person who also has his own worries but tries to follow the flow, that's Warren. That is why making Warren a character that oversees the situation and gives a simple solution that all the other characters fail to see, seemed like a clever thing to do.
There were some unique acts and directions in ORDINARY DAYS. The stage is quite small, therefore every corner and space was used to its fullest. The skyline of New York City was expressed with a screen on the back wall and the streets were portrayed with lights and two traffic lights hanging from the ceiling. One of the most beautiful scenes of the show was near the end when Warren throws his leaflets into the sky. The leaflets were made with all different colors and because of a fan in the corner; they flew pretty far as if they were really being thrown from the top of a building. Later, the actors pick up these leaflets and read the written quotes.
"Massive buildings cannot hide the view of your dreams," this was the phrase that was written in the leaflet that flew toward me. Though it was a simple message written on a piece of paper, it was something that I needed to hear. ORDINARY DAYS is a musical that will give every single person a pat on the back and remind them that everything is going to be better.
Do not miss the opportunity to receive a heartwarming hug from the show, ORDINARY DAYS which plays in PMC Daehango Jayu Theater until November 4th. Tickets are 60,000 KRW and can be purchased at www.globalinterpark.com or offline box office. Be sure to check the cast and discounts prior to buying the tickets.
For more information, please visit www.globalinterpark.com.