Daniel K. Isaac’s new play Once Upon a (Korean) Time completes its world premiere run Off-Broadway at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre September 18. Presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company, the production began previews August 23 and officially opened August 31.
Starring in the cast are Sonnie Brown, Sasha Diamond, David Lee Huynh, Teresa Avia Lim, Jon Norman Schneider, David Shih, and Jillian Sun. Daniel K. Isaac and Sami Ma serve as understudies.
Once Upon a (Korean) Time combines traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War. Isaac’s playwriting debut creates a theatrical analog for the experiences of the Korean American diaspora, covering swathes of time to trace inherited trauma through generations—and the methods each one uses to manage it.
Obie-winner Ralph B. Peña directs the production, which features scenic design by Se Oh, costume design by Phuong Nguyen, lighting design by Oliver Wason, projection design by Yee Eun Nam, sound design by Fabian Obispo, and prop design by Alexander Wylie. Alyssa K. Howard serves as production stage manager.
“With Once Upon a (korean) TIME, I set out to write something unapologetically epic and explosively theatrical…aka expensive,” said Isaac in an earlier statement. “Frankly, I was tired of being expected to write small cast plays with single settings. Affordable and producible—I hated these limitations. I’m so thankful that Ralph and Ma-Yi have signed on and not backed down from this challenge. How fitting it is to have my world premiere of this play and as a playwright with a company that has a legacy in championing Asian American voices and centering the marginalized, making the seemingly impossible possible.”
For tickets and more information, visit Ma-YiTheatre.org.
See photos from the production below.