On Wednesday May 22nd, I got a chance to watch an amazing play called ‘Kim’s Convenience’, genre being romantic/ drama. This wonderful play, comprised with 5 main characters: Jung, Janet, Umma, Appa/Mr.Kim, and Alex/Mr. Lee/Mike/Rich. Kim’s convenience portrays a family man, Mr.Kim, who runs his own convenience store. He has to kids, Janet, and Jung, the son who does not live with them anymore. Mr. Kim started this business long ago to support his family in hopes of making a secure future for his daughter, Janet. As he is reaching towards retirement, Appa has to face many tough choices. Regent park, where Kim’s Convenience is located is growing fast, with new buildings and bigger and better things, with other better competitors for the convenience store such as Walmart, etc. Appa is trying to convince his daughter Janet to continue his legacy and take over the store but she refuses, and with Jung, Appa’s son who does not live with them anymore, there is no one else left who can take over the store after him. Ins Choi, the writer of this play has done an amazing job creating this very simple yet impactful story. Kim’s Convenience is a story about a family, their dreams, their choices, and their struggles. I felt that every actor that was a part of Kim’s Convenience did an amazing job bringing life to their character on stage except Jung (Ins Choi). His characterisation, his acting, his expressions, his blocking, I found it all so awkward.
All the actors as a whole showed great stage cooperation and knew how to keep the audience hooked, but I felt that the connection was lost for me every time Jung had something to day. His acting was plain; you can even say that he was a flat character in a play full of round characters. However, all the actors contributed in their own different ways which kept the play well balanced and on its feet. The actor that impressed me the most was undoubtedly Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who played the role of Appa. I don’t know what was better, his comedic timing, or the fact that he is able to change the atmosphere of the audience with a blink of an eye. From my point of view, he was the most versatile and skillful actor that evening. He had great stage presence, and his characterisation of a Korean Immigrant was spot on. Also, he made it in a way that people in the audience can relate to what he is portraying in their own little ways. I believe this helped him connect with the people of the audience a bit better by showering us with different types of emotions. And I must say, his character was absolutely fantastic, goes to show how good of an actor he really is. The lighting that was use was one of the technical aspects of this play that amazed me the most. Who would have thought that such simple lighting can cause such a huge difference to the set. Kim’s Convenience had only one physical set and my first reaction when I sat before the show was, “Are you serious? How do they expect to show us such a long play in only a single set?” but I must say, once they play actually began, I was hooked onto its every aspect.
The lighting used in this play added a whole new dimension to the set as a whole. Not only was the lighting used to showcase a completely different set, but it was also used to show the audience a flash back. The original convenience store set was quickly changed into a church using nothing but dim lighting and patterns within those lights. That was simply just amazing. This goes to show that you don’t need fancy sets and music to produce a fantastic play; simple lighting can cause a huge impact if done properly. If we compare this play to “Wizard Of Oz”, just looking at the difference between these two plays in forms of set change, shows how simple Kim’s Convenience was, yet still incredibly amazing. Last but not least, I want to commend Lorenzo Savioni, who was in charge of the lighting during the play for a job well done. The Marilyn and Charles theatrical space, in my point of view, was not all that amazing. The seating was arranged in a way, where all the seats were connected to one another and there was hardly any space to move around.
There were 3 levels for the seating, one seating arrangement was exactly in front of the stage and the other two that were slightly higher were perpendicular to the stage on both sides of the theatre. What I liked and came as an advantage to us as guests was the location of the theatre. We were surrounded by many small food markets, where we could easily go and fill up on food. In the theatre, the audience mostly consisted of other students from different school with only a handful of elders that came. Regardless of the minor seating problems, I enjoyed the play thoroughly. This is hands down the best production I have seen, and I recommend everyone to watch it. It’ll be hard to find something that just doesn’t appeal to you. It’s a definite worth of one’s money.