This afternoon, I caught the matinee production of “Aubergine” at the Berkeley Reperatory Theatre in Berkeley, California.
It’s a play by Julia Cho and all I knew about it going in was that it was about food and family. As an Asian American myself who loves art and culture, I try to support as many Asian Americans thriving in that field as I can. So, the mere fact that this was written by a Korean American was reason enough for me to go.
And, my friends -WOW. This play was amazing. It was thoughtfully written, with clear themes and great character development. It started out with a story about a woman, whom at the end of the day, relishes in the memory of a pastrami sandwich that will bring her back to a time when she is happy and with her father (who has now passed on). The rest of the play was centered around a dying Korean man and his estranged son who has come home to care for him in his final days. The son is a chef and found his way in life through food, a vocation his father had never approved. His mother died of an accident while the son was very young, leaving his relationship with his reserved father full of miscommunication and disappointment (as most relationships between 1st and 2nd generation immigrant families). The story plays out during his father’s last days, with the hospice nurse, the son’s estranged girlfriend, and the dying father’s brother, who comes out from Korea to say good bye. It’s about how food brought and can bring healing to relationships and brokenness, in a way that words and generational/cultural gaps cannot. I was captivated the whole way through and cried for most of the 2 hour and 30 minute production.
The cast was fantastic and starred none other than TIM KANG – CHO from the TV show, “The Mentalist” and he is more gorgeous and amazing than on TV. I was only 4 rows away and it took a lot of self control to not jump on the stage to hug him. 😛 I’m never that star crazy but Kang’s performance was phenomenal.
Coming home, I was inspired to cook dinner. So, in honor of this afternoon, I made some cold buckwheat noodle soup with bok choy and a shrimp/veggie pajun (pancake) for dinner. 🙂
Check it out while you can, friends! “Aubergine” just got extended to the end of the month!