K-BOX – a must see for new theatre lovers
By Cassandra-Eli Yiannacou
K-Box is so many things; honest, eye-opening, heart breaking, intriguing but most of all, it’s hilarious, and its humour is the glue that makes it hit so deeply.
A comical new play by Ra Chapman centres around Lucy, a 30-something year old Korean adoptee who, in the wake of quitting her job and dumping her boyfriend returns to her home to her loving adoptive parent’, and with her brings some hard truths for all of them to face.
But nothing seems quite as she left it.
George and Shirley don’t know what to do with their daughter. She’s depressed, she’s not left the couch and she’s rekindled a childhood connection to an old cardboard box that was once full of childhood memories but is now completely empty, which now follows her wherever she goes.
When Lucy starts dating a K-Pop star who asks some ask destabilising questions about her life, she finds herself able to finally articulate her feelings about being adopted, and her longing for her Korean roots.
Susanna Qian as Lucy shines! Perfectly articulating an adrift, disaffected woman in her mid-thirties haunted by something she doesn’t have the words or courage to describe yet. Maude Davey and Syd Brisbane bounce off each other with beautiful and side-splitting comedic timing, they show the depths of their love for Lucy which makes their inability to see their faults, insensitivity or just their inability to not ‘get it!’ so much more devastating.
The trio together are magic, and my heart ached for this family with so much unsaid between them.
Jeffrey Liu is captivating as the mysterious K-Pop star, both parodying the art form and blowing us away with it by breaking out into song.
Ra Chapman crafts a phenomenal script, no moment is wasted and what impressed me the most were the moments that felt deliberately theatrical and unreal, like Lucy’s hypnotic connection to her box, especially when you consider how realistic the majority of the show is, truly demonstrating how much skill Chapman has in layering nuance.
Bridget Balodis’ direction works in perfect harmony with the writing, like the script it straddles the real and unreal. Balodis’ balances the joyful chaos and noise of comedy and family relationships, with the tender moments of connection, harsh truths and Lucy’s found self-determination. This, combined with lighting and sound that too manages to find the balance, adds an extra layer of brilliance that takes this show to the next level.
Chapman has said that, “as a transracial adoptee my relationship with my identity can be best described as a tumultuous rollercoaster ride, which is still ongoing.
“K-BOX was inspired by the collective and palpable grief, desire for connection, and deep love that exists within the Australian adoptee community and extended community overseas.”
“I want to share with audiences the joy and devastation and the impossible choices you are faced with, when you attempt to find something you’ve lost, while still wanting to hold onto what you have.”
All that was certainly achieved and more.
K-Box is delightfully original, punchy and poignant.
Images: Phoebe Powell