Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Everyone loves food. How can you not? You need it to survive. But what happens when you think about food? You start to have a certain relationship with it, a relationship which turns to stories, those stories then turn into memories, those memories comprise the wonderful story that is your life.

It’s hard to picture, but think about it. What is your favorite food? When I was five years old I was living in Washington, I was just playing tetherball with my brother and he hit the ball so hard I had no time to block my face and suddenly I tasted blood. The ball knocked out my front tooth. I ran into the house crying and my Dad gave me some salt water and calmed me down, but my mom, she made me mac n cheese with the swiggly noodles and alfredo sauce.  I remember playing with the noodles in my gap and hearing my family all laugh. All of these memories flood in my mind from a simple box of mac n cheese. Julia Cho manages to write a beautiful story about love, loss, and the beauty that comes after. Aubergine is a play that everyone must see!

Lights fade up on a woman who shares a touching story about her love for the perfect pastrami sandwich that she will never taste because her father was the only one who could make it. He passed away from cancer. This monologue sets up the entire story.

Enter Ray (Tim Kang), who we see in a hospital watching his father die. After the doctor told him to take his dad home we transition to his home, which surprisingly the only room where the hospital bed would fit is the dining room. We are introduced to Lucien (Michael Potts) the hospice nurse who is a breath of fresh air in a lifeless room. He grounds the show and even though he is always surround by death, he grabs the light of life and radiates. Once Lucien forces Ray out of the house we learned more about his personal life, as we are introduced to his ex girlfriend, Cornelia (Sue Jean Kim). Cornelia represents the wall around Ray, and his emotional state. He can’t let anyone in. But that wall slowly breaks down once Cornelia gets in touch with Ray’s uncle who lives in Korea. Uncle who only speaks Korean brings Rays culture back to his life, which also brings up bad memories. We relive in some flashbacks seeing that Rays father never supported his cooking career. His uncle is convinced his dying brother wants turtle soup, and forces Ray to cook one last meal.

Tim Kang delivers a flavorful performance. He never leaves the stage, its as we are watching a meal be prepared in front of us. We see the ingredients he uses and mixing all these different relationships together, and finally after watching the food bake, we see this beautiful result. Yes, it might be missing a piece, but the meal is savory and leaves you wanting more, or just makes you look forward to your next meal. Most people are trained to think death is the end, but really it’s another beginning.  

If you are in need of some type of closure, in need to feel some sense of home, or in need of some beautiful theatre, make your way to Playwrights Horizons and see, Aubergine. Guaranteed to resonate with every generation and leaving you full of… well... That’s up to you.

Review: Briana Burnside
Photos: Sara Krulwich

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