|Janet (Esther Jun) and Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee).|
A good friend of mine once invited me to a play because she needed to see some “life.” And to her, theatre was all about “life.” Kim’s Convenience, a new Canadian play about a Korean family in Toronto, is certainly full of “life.”
Written by Ins Choi, Kim's Convenience, which debuted at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company on Thursday, is the story of the Kim family led by patriarch Appa, his wife Umma and their children, Jung and Janet. Appa originally left South Korea and immigrated to Canada with his wife and unborn son and they open a convenience store. In a poignant and funny interlude in the middle of the play, Appa, played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, and Umma, played by Jean Yoon, perform a memory scene under spotlight. They recall looking at the convenience store with great hope and so they try to come up with a name. (By the time they settle on Kim’s Convenience, Appa has considered several names including “Kim Horton’s”.) This scene, which resonates in the play, is a beautiful distillation of the dream every new Canadian hopes for in making a better life in a new land.