Kyoung H. Park, one of our esteemed artists-in-residence with The Performance Project, is getting rave reviews for his show TALA. With coverage in StageBuddy and TheEasy.com, we're thrilled to share some highlights of the reviews of this one-of-a-kind performance piece:
"This is a play of ideas and poetry collaged together; at times, it felt dream-like with its fluid, animal-like choreography by Yin Yue and music by Svetlana Maras. The sparse set by Jason Krugman suggested the idea of a modern installation piece you might find in a warehouse in Williamsburg. And the trio of performers -- a breathe of fresh air to see such diversity on stage -- were all impressive, especially when they switched into different roles. At one point, all three performers inhabit the persona of Kyoung (Benoit's is particularly heartbreaking to watch) and the fluidity of that role-switching fits nicely with the overall messy journey of uncovering identity.
Personally, the question that lingers from the beginning is a question that haunts me to this day. I do not know who my father is and I am missing that part of my lineage. And while I watched other audience members easily answer the question in detail, I was unable to even venture a guess, which made me relate to Park's play on a level that I don't think he could have anticipated. Throughout the play, I felt the overwhelming feeling of being an outsider, which Kyoung echoes with every line. But sometimes that outsider feeling, which can often feel empty, when shared in a performance setting, can feel quite cathartic."
-Teddy Nichols, TheEasy.com (check out the full review online)
"Tala tackles large, almost mythical dilemmas, such as the burden of inheriting a national identity and the complexities and confusions that arrive when we inherit more than one. Park explores what we must accept and how we can grow, pushing beyond what is expected of us as obedient sons, daughters, and citizens. Kyoung is fearless in his willingness to leave his life and the trials of his past out in the open, and by merging the story of Pepe and Lupe with that of the playwright, he shows the intersection between the personal and the political, exploring the implications of following a cause to the extreme, given the potential that in doing so you may have to give up on the hope of "normalcy" -- for Lupe a house and kids and a life as a homemaker, for Kyoung the possibility of a stable national identity and a successful, intimate relationship.
Rafael Benoit, the primary actor of Pepe, Flor De Liz Perez as Lupe, and Daniel K. Isaac as Kyoung and Matt, an ex-lover of Park's, give emotionally powerful performances that show an impressive range capable of carrying both the lighter, sarcastic moments and the heavier, more disturbing elements as well. Their performances were notable for their physical willingness as well, as the play involved many moments of closeness, of dance, and of frantic movement across the stage.
The Performance Project is, in essence, about giving a voice to those who have been denied one, about fostering community and growth through the arts. In Tala, Park tells his story, perhaps the first about a "gay Chilean-Korean terrorist," and escalates his hope and belief one step further, leaving us with the possibility that perhaps the pen is indeed more powerful - far more powerful - than the sword."
-Emily Gawlak, StageBuddy (check out the full review online)
TALA will be playing at historic Speyer Hall on weekends through January 23, so there's still time to see this masterpiece performance. Get your tickets today, or check out our Performance Calendar to learn more about the show.