Laura is a director. Lola is a theatre artist and Erika is a theatre maker.

 

Laura

Alright. What’s in your pockets?

 

Lola

Not too much. I’ve seen a few Interact shows and had heard good things about the script, but that’s about it. What about you?

 

Laura

Mostly the same. I was definitely interested in the show based on the way it was marketed, and I had seen a few of the actors in other things that I really enjoyed. I came in pretty psyched about it.

 

Erika

Yes, well I’m slightly agitated cause I’m fighting with my cat. You for Me for You -wise, I was excited for the show, seemed really interesting with a bang up cast. I am also returning to the world of thinking about plays critically so I might not be able to articulate all my thoughts exactly.

 

Lola

I’m also always interested in Alice in Wonderland allegories, for better or worse.

 

Erika

Well that was one thing I loved– The set looking like this deep dark well is the image I take away the most.

 

Laura

Yeah, I like the set overall. I like the kind of unfinished look of the wood making up the rings. It was different from anything else I had seen in that space.

 

Lola

I enjoyed the concept, but disliked the construction of the set. You could see right into the wings from where I was sitting, and with no backstage masking, you get a wonderful view of an electrical outlet off stage left.

 

Laura

Mmm, that’s a shame. Totally missed that from where I was.

 

Erika

Hm. I guess that really depended on where you were sitting. Being somewhere in the center probably drastically altered that experience to some extent.

 

Erika

It felt like a tunnel. Or an eye which was also creepy.  Like, Someone is always watching you.

 

Laura

Yeah, it accomplished a couple different things at once on a symbolic level which was nice.

 

Lola

I also super enjoyed the sliding panels that defined the space. They moved so efficiently with clever hidden tables and beds.

 

Erika

Yes. And the initial image of the Kims was really pretty horrifying.

I should add in my hot pockets I was often comparing the circumstances of this play with our current political climate.

 

Lola

That makes for some pretty hot pockets.

What did you guys think of the script?

 

Erika

I thought it was imaginative and playful while dealing with a gruesome subject.

 

Laura

I think I liked the script overall. My major issue with it (which, after thinking about it a little more, is less of a problem for me), was that we didn’t get to see any of Junhee’s past. I had a really hard time getting a handle on who that character was, even though I thought Mina Kawahara gave a nice performance.

We get so much of Minhee’s real backstory so I found myself empathizing and emotionally following her much more.

 

Erika

Mmm I feel that. Junhee’s identity was very much tied up in her sister’s identity.

 

Lola

See, I found myself more drawn to Junhee’s story. I was really into the “Gibberish as means of communication” device used to define the “obnoxious American” roles. Hillary Parker was really fun to watch and listen to and Mina Kawahara’s performance was very simple and direct. But I totally agree that her character’s journey was more governed by circumstance. Minhee’s journey seemed to have higher emotional stakes.

 

Erika

Then again maybe that comparison gave the play a much needed balance.

We see how Junhee adapts to a new life while Minhee is basically in a hole for eternity.

 

Laura

Yeah, upon reflection I actually appreciated how the play was structured  around one character’s past, which she’s stuck in, and another character’s sort of projected future.

 

Erika

I enjoyed Justin Jain a lot with the 10,000 characters he played.  I was so impressed with those costume changes.

 

Lola

Justin Jain is super great and supremely likable, and while I enjoyed him, his roles kind of fell flat for me. They didn’t seem specific enough to be funny or shocking or scary. But that might be my taste. I always want dream worlds to be over the top.

 

Erika

He seemed most believable to me when he played Minhee’s dead husband. There was something very grounded and sober about his performance that I enjoyed.  Although I  do feel there were  moments where it could have gone more over the top in the dream world. I wanted it toooo!

 

Lola

I enjoyed the looping his characters got stuck in. Presenting that paper over and over and over and over again until Minhee physically couldn’t rip it anymore. I was into that.

 

Erika

Ooo yes. That was a heart wrenching moment. Honestly I cried three times watching this play.   There were a few times however where I felt like it was a little too much crying. Like it’s sad I get it, I’m sad as heck right now about this whole situation but I can’t anymore with the crying.

 

Lola

Some hard acting happening at times.

 

Laura

Agreed.

Erika

I didn’t think Mina and Dwayne Thomas had much chemistry as a couple. Their relationship was hard to believe.

 

Lola

Dwayne Thomas was suave and charming, but not given much to work with. I kind of forgot they were supposed to be in love. Her relationship with Hillary was so much more dynamic. Why do women always have to be defined by men, even when their relationships with each other are more interesting?

 

Laura

Yes yes yes one million times.

 

Erika

Yes I could have done without the fake love story but maybe it felt hollow to us because it was actually a hollow relationship between the two of them.

 

Lola

Having one man play ALL of the “man” parts (as Hillary did with all of the “white” parts) would have been telling and interesting.

 

Erika

If they were going for passionate love then it definitely missed the mark, but I definitely felt the, “Well I guess I’ll hang out with you” love.

 

Lola

The “good enough” love.

 

Laura

Yeah, “good enough” love is not super dramatically compelling.

 

Erika

True that.

 

Laura

And honestly, I think that’s probably on the director–I wish there had been a little bit more guidance on making sure it didn’t fall into emotional stagnation.

 

Erika

Yes agreed.

 

Laura

It’s a kind of long, heavy play, and I wish a little bit more attention had been given to shaping out the emotional beats.

 

Erika

Also agree. This production had a lot of really beautiful elements, and my overall experience of it was positive, but I did it seem like there were some moments lost. Though to be fair I went on opening night, so those audiences tend to be more receptive and forgiving.

 

Lola

Definitely. Super general direction leaves to unspecific emotion. And unmotivated crosses during monologues. And block lighting on the stage that doesn’t fade, it just pops on when the character walks to their mark.

 

Laura

Yeah, I was very confused about that lighting choice. But I would say that overall, I’m glad that Interact chose this show. It’s a challenging script and it’s ambitious and it has two really solid leading roles for Asian women. I think it just lacked the guidance that it needed to play to its fullest potential.

 

Lola

Definitely positive overall! I think I was so excited to see it, so I’m just being nitpicky.

 

Erika

I’m generally ridiculously easy to please which is why I’m practicing thinking about things more critically. But yes, this play made me mostly happy while I mostly cried a lot.

 

 

 

 

Lola

I wish it had been more carefully directed.  But I’m really happy Interact did the play and I think they should continue to choose challenging scripts like this. .

 

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