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I don’t like one person shows. The sheer idea of them immediately conjures up an image of a sassy lady in a leopard camisole unleashing all the crap about her childhood and why she insists that I should pay to hear all about it. They’ve always seemed incredibly self-absorbed and preachy.
Then I saw a play called “The Syringa Tree” by a performer named Pamela Gien. For 90 minutes, I watched this woman slip from young to old, black to white, female to male. She didn’t whine and she didn’t preach. She simply gave the audience a dramatic experience and through this experience, I saw how Apartheid touched the lives of people in a way no Wikipedia article or activist pamphlet could ever show me. Her portrayal was a sheer act of empathy, and I learned volumes because she chose to share it.
“The Syringa Tree” resonated in me as I created “between.” I wanted to share my story, but more importantly, I wanted to share it within the context and perspective of other stories, of a collective. 200,000 children have been sent out of Korea since the beginning of the international adoption program. We are scattered across 14 countries and are a diverse and complicated diaspora. It’s impossible to isolate my individual story when there are so many things connected to it: birthmothers’ loss, shared identity and racial adversity, collectivist political action.
“between” is a snapshot of this collective; it is a flash of storytelling. It’s what I want to show to every cab driver or stranger in the milk aisle that asks me about adoption. The cab ride is never long enough and sometimes I just want to buy my milk and go home.
This show is for them; it is for my birthfamily, and it is for you.