Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned

Esther Choi is your favorite all-American, overachieving-Asian teen except she has a ghost. Anthony Gibson is Esther’s best friend and (spoiler alert) he’s dead. Mr. Choi is Esther’s grandfather and he owns a haunted dry cleaner on Cheltenham Ave. In an (un)likely turn of events, Esther must grapple with grief, loneliness, and winning first chair in high school orchestra, all while living up to her grandfather’s new expectations.
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Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned

Recommended by

  • Karen Jean Martinson:
    21 May. 2022
    Wow. Didn't expect to start out laughing and wind up crying while sitting and reading a play on a beautiful afternoon. This is an incredibly moving, beautiful play.
  • Cheryl Bear:
    6 Jun. 2021
    A beautiful capture of the true process of grappling with grief and the connection that can help us through. Well done.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    1 May. 2021
    Gorgeous piece that straddles many different genres--comedy, tragedy, drama, and magical realism, most notably. Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters creates three very vivid characters who we zero in on and get to know and understand well, while exploring larger and socially relevant themes of grief, intersectionality, racialized assumptions and violence, generational conflict, and more. The use of music is wonderful and the mix of lyrical dialogue, witty and on-point naturalism, and powerful visual metaphors makes for a theatrically compelling aesthetic whole. I'd so love to see this live and in performance!

Character Information

  • Esther
    teens,
    korean american
    ,
    Female
    A practical and driven high school student (but only because she knows she’s supposed to be). She’s tough on others, but tougher on herself. She is second generation. Asian-American, female, early 20s to play teen.
  • Anthony
    teens,
    Black
    ,
    Male
    A brilliant and kind high school student. Musical genius that works at a fish supply store. A compelling gentleness lives inside him. African-American, male, early 20s to play teens.
  • Mr. Choi
    Elderly,
    korean / korean american
    ,
    Male
    Esther’s grandfather and immigrant from Korea. He owns a dry cleaner. Asian/Asian-American, male, grandfather age (let’s not be insulting here)

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Phoenix Theatre Indianapolis
    ,
    2020
  • Reading
    ,
    PlayPenn
    ,
    2019
  • Reading
    ,
    Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival
    ,
    2019

Awards

Winner
,
Kilroys List 2020
,
The Kilroys
,
2020