Monday, August 19, 2019


 In her interview with Carolina Xique, playwright Jiehae Park  discusses  how she came from being primarily an actor to finding her way to writing a play that eventually became the foundation of her Masters thesis. 
Jully Lee and Monica Hong
Photo by Jenny Graham

On Yee Eun Nam's beautifully functional set, we meet Monica Hong as Hannah who must be the doppleganger for Ms Park, as her mystery unfolds. Hannah addresses the audience directly and as the story begins, we meet Hannah's family: Janet Song, her over engaged with Craig's List mother; her dad, played by Han Cho, pedaling for all he's worth in the world of Seoul; hip and like happening, yo, Brother Dang (who refuses his given name Dong: for cause) Gavin Lee.  Like Alice down the rabbit hole, Hannah receives a mysterious parcel (literally, the Inciting Event) with a note written in Korean by her mother's mother whom we meet only in a flash, perhaps her leap to freedom? The parcel holds a small bottle containing a pebble: a wish.   
With the use of appropriate projections by designer Yee Eun Nam and the protean hopping back and forth from one character to another by shapeshifting Jully Lee,  a phantasmagorical polygolt unfolds. 
Has Grandmother actually committed suicide by leaping from the sixty third story of the Sunrise Dewdrop Apartment City for Senior Living into the DMZ that has divided North from South Korea for over fifty years?  Kin Jong Il is dead! Will there be nuclear war?? Can the family reclaim Grandmother's body... if there is one? Can Dong/Dang find love and purpose riding the subways of Seoul while encountering mysterious strangers including the incredibly cute Girl (really, really cute Wonjun Kim)?
Wonjung Kim and Gavin Lee
Photo by Jenny Graham
Is garlic the secret to long life and health and happiness? What about the origin story: The Tiger and the Bear?

Park's story moves apace with smooth as silk set changes enhanced by spectacular video projections.  How will Hannah's mother, anxious for her daughter to be married and to have the good life that she imagines for Hannah survive? AND!?? How will Hannah herself survive?  She, who has worked like anything through years of schooling and internships and residencies to become a board certified pediatric neurologist: her crucial final test looming in New York  only hours away, while fielding calls from her Argentinian lover intrude making life for this modern young woman a battle on many fronts? Well she does. 

Park's fluid script and smooth staging by director Jennifer Chang create an evening where suspension of disbelief is made relatively easy by the genuine quality of each of these over the top characters.  Occasional interaction by the Koreans spoken in Korean has no need of translation as the folks in power we encounter are pretty much all the same around the world.  We hear the familiar name of Grandmother's retirement home within the Korean discussions and experience the rooftop where she might have taken the plunge with bullets flying from the North. We find resolution in.. oh wait.. no spoilers... but we do find resolution and you may, too, by visiting .

The Fountain Theatre in partnership with East West Players again charms us with socially relevant issues that go beyond the obvious.  This experience is just right for Los Angeles... located only a few blocks from Koreatown, from where, we hope a native audience may come to enjoy native language, myth and fairy tale ... and garlic.  Everybody else should come, too.
Hannah and the Dread Gazebo 
by Jiehae Park 
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Opened Saturday August 17, 2019 
Performances: Aug. 17 – Sept. 22
Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 14 ONLY (preview)
Thursday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 15 ONLY (preview)
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 16 (preview), 23, 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20
Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Aug 24, 31; Sept. 7, 14, 21 (no matinee performance on Aug. 17)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 17 (Opening Night), 24, 31; Sept. 7, 14, 21
Sundays at 2 p.m.: Aug. 18, 25; Sept. 1, 8. 15, 22
Mondays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 26; Sept. 2, 9, 16 (dark Aug. 19)

Tickets and Information:
626 336 1525 /

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