San Francisco Fringe 2017
“How do we discover what home means when we feel like we never fully fit in anywhere?
Eager to leave behind her suburban US life, Amy moves abroad to explore the world. But when sudden events force her to return, she navigates a more personal terrain, compelling her to reflect on her identities as an American, transracial adoptee, and woman of color, as she seeks to define what home really is.”
Korean American adoptee Amy Mihyang Ginther wrote – and performs – this one-person show about where home is for her. This fascinating show is the sum of several entertaining episodic stories set in different countries as she travels around the world. After living in New York for many years, she yearns for different experiences and to see where and how she really fits in. She describes her experiences in London first, next she’s in Wales finding new friends, then Dublin…
Ginther is a polished performer, she’s dynamic and vital, with a strong presence and bubbly energy. She speaks with different accents as she takes us to several countries in her travelogue, which adds to the atmosphere and makes each place more real.
The writing is descriptive, sensory and rich in imagery. Her perceptions of each place and their cultural differences capture the moments perfectly with humor and vitality. Wherever she goes Ginther is asked where she’s from and she experiences one or two surprising reactions. She moves from country to country telling us vividly through her fluid and clear language with well selected details – and we are never lost. Ginther’s storytelling is warm, dramatic, wistful, tender and strong. She is seeking and searching to understand – and is as imaginative as she is realistic.
Ginther’s mother in New York makes several appearances in emails, on her computer, and in the travels. In fact, one of the most moving elements about this show is the complex and real arc of her relationship with her mother in this story within a story.
Homeful is well directed by Lisa Marie Rollins who is also credited as Dramaturge. This is a creative and professional team – Ginther’s plentiful material, guided by Rollins has produced a very interesting show that will certainly have a life after this fringe festival.
The stage set comprises a long table with computer, chair, two black boxes and projections on back wall.
Several short musical clips play in between parts of the stories, for flavor.
In her spirited performance Ginther uses her whole range as an actor – vocal, physical and emotional – plus her very expressive facial expressions and gestures. Her experiences prove they are not just to learn about others, and herself, but she is moved several times by what and whom she encounters. This is a beautifully crafted show, it’s meaningful and in depth. It’s also a ninety-minute show, which Ginther sustains admirably through her writing and brilliant performance!
Ginther is a force of nature, and the ending is intriguing as she leaves us with some provocative questions for her – and us – to think about. What she has to say will stay with us as we leave the theatre and reflect on what we just experienced. This is what theatre is all about!