Inward Islands | chelseanow.com

We’re Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!


Inward Islands

Photo by Marie Yokoyama L to R: Flor De Liz Perez, Daniel K. Isaac and Rafael Benoit play multiple characters, in Kyoung H. Park’s surreal saga of immigrant aspirations and revolutionary fervor.

Photo by Marie Yokoyama
L to R: Flor De Liz Perez, Daniel K. Isaac and Rafael Benoit play multiple characters, in Kyoung H. Park’s surreal saga of immigrant aspirations and revolutionary fervor.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER   |  No man is an island? Try telling that to the man without a country.

Casting its net across time, place, culture, the search for self and the need for a greater purpose, playwright Kyoung H. Park’s script for “Tala” is as tangled and conflicted and contemplative as you’d expect from that messy melting pot of thematic ingredients. Dashes of surrealism may sweeten the dish, but their presence has no ambition to overwhelm the bitter taste that lingers on the palate of every righteous fighter or melancholy searcher in the cast — even the ones who seem poised to find what they’ve been looking for.

First-born son Park bases much of “Tala” on a fictionalized version of his own experience as a Korean-Chilean in America during 9/11, whose emerging identity as a gay man and an artist parallels our country’s defensive shift into a new era of military aggression abroad and paranoia at home.

THEATER  TALA

Written & Directed by Kyoung H. Park
Music by Svetlana Maras
Choreography by Yin Yue
Video by John Knowles
Installation art by Jason Krugman
At 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 15 & 22
Friday, January 16 & 23
At University Settlement’s Speyer Hall
184 Eldridge Street
(btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.)
Tickets: $18
($10 for students & seniors)
For reservations, call 800-838-3006
Or visit universitysettlement.org
Artist Info at kyoungspacificbeat.org

 

That uncomfortable genesis is accompanied by the tale of Pepe and Lupe. Two lovers inspired by Chilean poets Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, their sand dune picnic takes place on September 10, 1973. It is, observes Park’s onstage counterpart Kyoung, “the night before the first 9/11” (aka the Chilean coup d’état). Resentful of colonialist incursions from the mainland, Pepe takes to burning bridges (literal and figurative), while former rebel Lupe pines for domestic tranquility on a distant and better island.

Meanwhile, Kyoung attempts to return to the island of Manhattan from soul-searching trips abroad, only to be red-flagged by airport security and his boyfriend — whose cutting breakup line could only be delivered in a post-9/11 world: “You were deported and black-listed from my country. You’re a gay, North Korean terrorist. We can’t make this work.”

Never mind that only portions of that assessment have any basis in fact. Kyoung, like countless other immigrants and struggling artists, is in for a world of hurt when he charts a course for home, then dares to stray from the set path.

Comments

  1. […] “Casting its net across time, place, culture, the search for self and the need for a greater purpose, playwright Kyoung H. Park’s script for Tala is as tangled and conflicted and contemplative as you’d expect from that messy melting pot of thematic ingredients. Dashes of surrealism may sweeten the dish, but their presence has no ambition to overwhelm the bitter taste that lingers on the palate of every righteous fighter or melancholy searcher in the cast — even the ones who seem poised to find what they’ve been looking for. First-born son Park bases much of Tala on a fictionalized version of his own experience as a Korean-Chilean in America during 9/11, whose emerging identity as a gay man and an artist parallels our country’s defensive shift into a new era of military aggression abroad and paranoia at home… Never mind that only portions of that assessment have any basis in fact. Kyoung, like countless other immigrants and struggling artists, is in for a world of hurt when he charts a course for home, then dares to stray from the set path.”–Scott Stiffler, Chelsea Now […]