This was an incredibly well-rounded and honest play. Not only did the actors embody such raw emotion but they also conveyed stoic vulnerability amidst waning humanitarianism and fearful capitalism. To be a North Korean refugee is to be a person torn in half, loyal to your family while being loyal to survival. Showing both sides of the harrowing and terrifying prospects of escaping North Korea (not always surviving without being caught) was very sobering to witness, as an adoptee. There are similar emotions to be had if you were separated from your family, without a choice, as well as, intentionally, post-war. With poignancy, humor, grief and relief, these lead actors were tasked with, creatively, offering a view into the minds and bodies of people traversing an inhumane dictatorship in the hopes of, finally, obtaining freedom. Bordering on the supernatural and surreal, at times, each scene compliments the one before it and prepares the viewer for scenes after. It was a unique and powerful experience to watch this play with an audience, mainly, made up of Korean Nationals, Korean-Americans, Korean adoptees, Chinese-Americans, Japanese Nationals, Japanese-Americans, Korean War Veterans, former Korean-American Congresspeople, refugees and Pacific Islanders. The intensity of lived experiences and level of empathy in the room added to the performance's impact. Two hours wasn't nearly enough time to convey how these experiences shape entire generations, while giving respect to those who perished across the DMZ, but this play manages to get very close to that goal.
The cast is from all over the country and world and I am grateful for their arrival in Portland. Thanks to the KAC Oregon, people are able to see this play as a result of a generous grant. I highly recommend seeing it while it shows through the end of February!
~ Ty, KAC-OR Board Treasurer
For show times and to purchase tickets, visit Portland Playhouse.