Aubergine tells a universal story through a Korean-American Lens
Julia Cho’s Off-Broadway Hit is part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival
Food, family and memory are the dominant flavors of Julia Cho’s drama Aubergine running February 7 -- March 4 on Olney Theatre Center’s Mainstage. The co-production with Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre is directed by Everyman’s artistic director Vincent M. Lancisi and receives its area premiere as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival prior to a latter run in Baltimore, March 14 - April 15.
Cho’s genesis of Aubergine began with an assignment from Berkeley Repertory Theatre to write a short play about food. Following on the heels of her father’s death, she thought the commission would be a fun distraction. In the end, the subject of food became the vehicle through which to address important and personal issues of family, memory and the ways we communicate, or fail to communicate, with one another. In the funny and moving drama, Ray (Tony Nam - seen recently at OTC in Our Town) leaves his job as a classically trained French chef to take care of his dying father (Glenn Kubota), a Korean immigrant, who never appreciated Ray’s culinary accomplishments. Food, which normally unites people, painfully divides Ray from his father, even as it serves as the key to memory and identity for all the characters in this off-Broadway hit. If the language of food lets him down, he’s even more vexed by the Korean language. Ray calls upon his estranged girlfriend Cornelia (Eunice Bae - In The Heights) for translation services when his non-English speaking uncle (Song Kim) arrives with a sack full of strange ingredients. Significant portions of the dialogue are in Korean with English supertitles provided by Projection Designer Zachary Borovay. Filling out the cast are Jefferson A. Russell as Lucien, the hospice nurse who counsels Ray, and Megan Anderson as Diane, a foodie whose story intersects with Ray and Cornelia.
Olney Theatre Center Artistic Associates Misha Kachman (sets) and Ivania Stack (costumes) join lighting designer Harold F. Burgess II, sound designer Roc Lee and projection designer Zachary Borovay in supporting the production. Cat Wallis is the production stage manager.
By Julia Cho
Directed by Vincent M. Lancisi
February 7 - March 4, 2018
Press Opening: Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Regular performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00 pm; matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 pm; Wednesday matinees on February 14 and 28 at 2:00 pm. There is no Saturday matinee performance on February 10.
There will be an Audio-described performance for the blind and visually impaired on February 21 at 8:00 pm. There will be a Sign-interpreted performance on March 1 at 8:00 pm.
Tickets begin at $47. Discounts available for groups, seniors, military and students.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Saturday, February 10 at 5:00 PM
$10/Free for Olney Theatre Center Members
"Aubergine is a play about life...a play about food, about memory, and about family." – Julia Cho, playwright
What food do you remember most from your childhood? When Julia Cho was commissioned to write Aubergine, she was asked to write a short play about food. What she ended up writing about was the connection between food and memory: the meals we have, the people we have them with, the ones we may never have again, and what we carry with us. Her play reminds us that across cultures, food is at the core of human love, grief, and connection.
Join Andy Shallal (artist, activist, and founder of DC-area restaurant Busboys and Poets), Sam Adkins (founder and head chef of DC restaurant Sally’s Middle Name), and psychologist Dr. Carissa Cheah (UMBC) for a discussion exploring why this connection is so strong in Aubergine and in life. What makes food so important to us? Why do we eat the things we eat? Why is it one of our universal languages?
LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
Saturday, February 17 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Free! Recommended ages 10 and up
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Olney Theatre Center with food, family, and friends. Meet the owners of Mandu, one of DC’s most-popular Korean restaurants, and learn how to make dumplings. Listen to personal stories of family and food across cultures and generations. Featuring storytellers from Double Nickels Theatre Company.
POST-SHOW Discussions will occur after the following Saturday matinee performances: February 17, 24 & March 3
About Olney Theatre Center
Olney Theatre Center is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre now in its 80th Season. Our mission is to produce and present extraordinary theatre and performance from our four-theatre campus for an ever-more diverse set of audiences in our community, and to educate the next generation of theatremakers to follow in our footsteps. We strive every day to unleash the creative potential of our artist and audiences, and in so doing, become Maryland’s premier center for theatre performance and education. In the past five years, Olney Theatre has had ten world or regional premieres, including Andrew Hinderaker’s The Magic Play and Colossal (2015 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical), and Jennifer Hoppe-House’s Bad Dog (2015 Steinberg Award nominee). Olney Theatre places a priority on engaging our community by ensuring that we remain affordable, accessible and inviting to new and returning audiences.
Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of over 300 professional productions year-round. It is situated on 14 wooded acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick "triangle," within easy access to all three cities, and is also home to National Players, America's longest-running touring company. Olney Theatre Center is led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus. For more information, please visit www.olneytheatre.org
Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter and Instagram @olneytheatre and on Facebook at facebook.com/olneytheatre.
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