ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME

The violence of fairy tales collide with the violence of the times as magical calabashes, singing goblins, sea dragons, and hungry tigers clash and harmonize with soldiers fighting the Occupation, Comfort Women fighting to survive, immigrants and hyphenated Americans in the Korean War and wars to come.
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ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME

Recommended by

  • Cheryl Bear:
    7 Mar. 2021
    Beautiful, moving and rich storytelling that leaves a memorable and valuable mark on us all. Excellent!
  • Nick Malakhow:
    26 Jun. 2019
    A beautiful piece that ranges from the everyday to the fantastical with seamless shifts. Similarly, we go from the hilarious and whimsical to the heartbreaking and gutting sometimes within a few lines. Brilliantly theatrical storytelling. The various parables and folk tales are presented in unique and fascinating ways, and are stitched together with some very satisfying framing devices. As I finished the piece, I considered cultural inheritance, collective trauma/healing, the evolution of folklore, and the responsibility/inevitability of honoring, acknowledging, and passing lessons down. I hope to see this produced soon!
  • David Hansen:
    7 Apr. 2019
    Isaac stirringly traces a century of Korean history with characters who recount ancient folks tales to console, explain, or simply draw attention away from the grief and hardship which has affected the Korean peninsula and its people. His storytelling is magical, candid, and very funny. Highly recommended!

Character Information

  • STORYTELLER MOTHER
    100 Beggars, 100 Mourners, 100 Soldiers / LADY GWAK, Sea Men / CHEONG / UMMA
  • STORYTELLER BIG SISTER
    MODEL WIFE / 1, Woman at the Well 1 / Baby
  • STORYTELLER DAUGHTER
    Magical Little Boy, 100 Beggars, 100
    Mourners, 100 Soldiers / 3
  • STORYTELLER AUNT
    100 Beggars, 100 Mourners, 100 Soldiers / 2, Woman at the Well 2 / Stewardess 2
  • STORYTELLER GRANDDAUGHTER
    BETROTHED / Sea Men / Stewardess 3 / DAUGHTER
  • STORYTELLER GRANDFATHER
    Old Man, 100 Beggars, 100 Mourners, 100 Soldiers
    / SHIM THE BLIND
  • STORYTELLER FATHER
    SOLDIER 1 / Japanese Soldier, Sea Men Captain
  • STORYTELLER SON
    SOLDIER 2 / Monk, Sea Men, Sea Dragon / Passenger

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    New York Theatre Workshop
    ,
    2019
  • Reading
    ,
    Ensemble Studio Theatre / Youngblood, NYC
    ,
    2018

Awards

Finalist
,
National Playwrights Conference
,
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
,
2019
Semi-Finalist
,
Clubbed Thumb’s 2018 Open-Application Commission
,
Clubbed Thumb
,
2018