disOriented

disOriented 2

disOriented

disOriented tells the story of Ju Yeon, an immigrant living in New York City, who has distanced herself from her Korean roots. When a sudden crisis hits her family, she must return to Korea and face the parents and the life she abandoned long ago. Experimental in form, non-linear in narrative, and punctuated with contemporary Korean fan dancing, disOriented melds dance with text until the play explodes into a percussive song of voices and movement.

World Premiere
Peter Jay Sharp Theater on 42nd Street, New York City
February 2011

Written by Kyoung H. Park
Directed by Carlos Armesto
Produced by Theater C in association with Kyoung’s Pacific Beat

Performed by
Ariel Estrada
Daniel K. Isaac
Talynm Jinn Kim
Yanghee Lee
Julian Leong
Burt Matias
Amy Kim Waschke
Virginia Wing

Costume design by Carla Bellisio
Properties design by Jamie Bressler
Lighting design by Jake DeGroot
Stage production managed by Chapel Folger
Set design by Adam Koch
Sound design by David Margolin Lawson
Dramaturgy by Jesse Longman
Choreography by Elisabetta Spuria
Fight choreography by Kurt Uy

Reviews

“Kyoung H. Park’s haunting disOriented could be about any woman, but is about a Korean one. Fan dancing, recent historical events, and cuisine specifically distinguish Ju Yeon (Amy Kim Waschke) and her clan, yet disOriented‘s long-distance and generational conflicts are universal. Ju Yeon’s loyalties are divided between her family in Manhattan and parents in Seoul, when a crisis layered with secrets and half-truths unbalances an already precarious situation. Guided by a dancing spirit (Yanghee Lee), Ju Yeon finally confronts her past to face the present. Park tells her story in a series of scenes presented like photographs randomly removed from a box. While not in order, each contains a memorable story.”

– Patricia Contino, Flavorpill, Editor’s Pick


disOriented shows the fragmented reality of a family—but also family as the highest value of reality: how the family measures up in comparison to other Koreans, as well as internal dreams and ambitions. It’s from that point of reference that the father/husband asserts that “This home, this family, this is what is real. From now on and forever: you will always be this.” Such dialogue made me think about how a sense of possessions (financial prosperity, college degrees, achievement) is often considered more real than what binds us together, as humans, as family. As custodians of dynamic ideas and as propellers of will. How we may gather around a celebratory table, grateful for shelter, meals, company, but despite gratefulness, that which unifies remains passive, unexercised. I can’t think of anything more urgent right now than to evaluate what we hold as ‘real’, and to untangle each sense of inherent unity.”

–Patricia Silva, VelvetPark


“Two-thirds of the way through disOriented, five major characters take the stage in a sequence in contrast from the rest of the show. The central character, Ju Yeon, is conspicuously absent from the stage but her role is clear: she is the tie that binds these people together (the on-stage characters are her mother and father, her two sons, and her husband). In a sense, the audience becomes Ju Yeon as the characters alternate lines that illustrate their individual quirks and demands, punctuated by the abrupt snaps of a paper fan opening, as a dancer moves dizzily among the actors. The effect is indeed disorienting, and I realized then just how difficult life must be for Ju Yeon. She is essentially torn in five directions as she struggles to meet the demands of some of her family members while shrinking away from the others… Playwright Kyoung Park says that disOriented is based on the relations between members of his own Chilean-Korean family. Though the story would certainly appeal to an audience who is familiar with the kinds of tensions that cross-cultural families endure, it also works as a window into that world for those whose families are not fragmented by distance and cultural differences.”

–Weston Clay, Theater is Easy

Creative Process & Production History

disOriented was written for the Royal Court Theatre’s (London) Young Writer’s Programme in the fall of 2007. A public reading of the play, directed by Carlos Armesto, was presented by the Ma-Yi Theater Company‘s 2008 LABFest at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre (New York City) in April of that year. The play was also workshopped by Diverse City Theater Company, directed by Carlos Armesto, and presented at Shetler Studios Theater 54 (New York City) in February 2009. disOriented was produced with support of a Special Projects grant from the Princess Grace Foundation.