Hannah and the Dread Gazebo
by Jiehae Park
directed by Chay Yew
Originally produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
March 29 - October 28, 2017
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: Hannah is two weeks away from becoming a board-certified neurologist when she receives a strange package from her grandmother, who may—or may not—have just ended her life in a most flamboyant fashion. The mystery leads Hannah and her family on a surreal, funny, heartbreaking adventure back to their roots in South and North Korea and the forbidden Demilitarized Zone that divides them. Chay Yew directs the world premiere of JieHae Park’s startling new comedy—with guest appearances by the ghost of Kim Jong-II, subway mystics and a talking tiger—that twists together creation myths and family histories to explore what it means to walk on the edge between cultures.
Artistic Statement: Hannah and the Dread Gazebo is a vital new American play that tells an important story about the immigrant experience and the effect of returning to one’s place of heritage. It is told with such heart and humor that it transcends labels; it is not only a Korean-American story, it is also an American story. Its subject matter reflects the 1st- 2nd- and 3rd-generation immigrant experience and points to the huge generational shift in American culture as aging baby boomers give way to millennials entering their 30s; the point in life at which Hannah is in the play. Further, it blends traditional realistic family drama through character development with such theatrical conventions as graphic novel aesthetics and fantastically imaginative reenactments. Other contemporary plays use the latter, however in Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Mr. Yew and the artistic team seek to use them in service to the classic question: How are we [artists and audience] collectively going to be in this world when our individual experiences seem so different? Finally, it is a small-cast play that tells a vitally important story in a wildly theatrical and expansive way. – Bill Rauch, Artistic Director
Grant Statement: The Edgerton Foundation New Play Award is invaluable to the readiness of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo for its world premiere. It allows us to assemble the entire creative team for the first time; to give the playwright, director, designers and full cast the opportunity to all make a first dive together into the complex material. Ms. Park, Mr. Yew and the designers can examine the intricate cultural references and complicated political history and address how to incorporate the play’s folklore and visual imagery, and the ensemble of six actors can begin preparing early for what promise to be linguistically exciting yet challenging roles that involve some Korean language and several long monologues. The additional rehearsal time is absolutely critical to this beautiful and important play; it ensures the full exploration of the characters as well as the refinement of the script, staging and cultural framework. – Bill Rauch, Artistic Director
Cast: Cindy Im, Sean Jones, Paul Juhn, and Amy Kim Waschke
Set Designer: Collette Pollard
Lighting Designer: David Weiner
Costume Designer: Sarah Clement
Additional Funders Supporting Hannah and the Dread Gazebo: Helen and Peter Bing, Charlotte Lin and Robert P. Porter, Marian and Richard Baldy, and The Hobbes Family.