Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kim's Convenience

Cast Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann
 Lurene and I are an unlikely pair to have a night out together.

Not that we don’t have similar interests. We just don’t find ourselves in the same places much, and especially at the theatre ... unaccompanied by anyone else.

Yes to finding us at a folk festival or a blues show, but not at the regular Theatre Calgary presentations.

Lurene wanted to see Kim’s Convenience by Ins Choi and I was an available date.

We got there early and waited for rush seats for the performance.  Ten minutes early, is the earliest they will sell what is left of the seating for the night.

“I had no idea there would be a full house on a Wednesday night so early in the run,” she said as we were heading for home, noting that the show does run until the end of the month, so there is still lots of time to see it. We were seated one row and a few seats apart. There couldn’t have been more than 20 seats left in the whole theatre by the time we selected our seats. A full house mid-week and a standing ovation. That probably says it all.

Not having sat together, I didn’t know when she had laughed and she didn’t know when I had winced. We experienced both emotions. “I thought this was a comedy,” I heard myself thinking at one point, “So why are they doing this to me.” And in the comedic moments I was laughing so hard at the slapstick humour. Such a charming play. I read the Herald Review before I went and I watched a video clip. But when the show began, I wasn’t sure if I was going to understand much of it. Mr. Kim’s accent had to be sustained through the whole show and it took me a while to get an ear for the Korean-Canadian accent. I like it when a play starts out making me work that hard.

Theatre Calgary presents A Soulpepper Production
Lurene and I had an animated conversation on the way home – surprised, first, that we were together at at a performance where there was no music. There was a charming lullaby in the middle of the play, a segue to more complications in the plot than had been initially presented. Nicely sung. This play pressed forward in an unusual way, investigating the lives of two complicated children of an immigrant family and underlining the humanity in all of our families -- letting us see ourselves through a Korean immigrant family. That gave enough distance that the pain of it wasn’t quite so big.

Here are my top three “likes” about the play.

1. A lot of fun to see the setting – a Toronto convenience story, complete with characters who steal and those who don’t steal, the problem of selling the new drink on the counter, the issue of parking illegally outside of the store, even trouble over who does or doesn’t take out the garbage.

2. Just loved the zany character(s) played by Andre Sills – a real estate agent, a shop lifter, a policeman – great comic relief and yes, as goofy as they were, I was laughing. 3. Thought it was nice to introduce the brother (Jung) who left home at 16 and to give him a complicated character and history before we were introduced to him near the end of the play. Nice touch.

3. The evening would have perfect if we had gone out for Korean food before we went to the play. Lurene laughed and when I said that and replied to the idea, “Yes. A perfect touch in your world. In my world I am just lucky to get to the theatre and back. But to tell the truth, I may go out three evenings this week. A miracle for me.


1 comment:

  1. I wanted to say one more thing about the play. There is a funny sequence where the family and daughter are arguing about the best way to take out garbage -- how to take the black plastic bag and fold it down the best way. Lurene? I have noticed this week that I have been doing it the way the father demonstrated, and then I have been laughing and thinking about the play again.