SELF-ish tells a simple story: it follows the internal monologue of one Korean-Canadian woman, Esther Jin (Diana Bang), as she copes with the loss of her father. From the onset, too, it seems rather unfussy – the entire 60-minute play is a one-woman show run by Diana Bang, performed with simple lighting, a handful of sound cues, and a set made up of six cardboard boxes. But this minimalistic play is anything but simple – playwright Kuan Foo and director Dawn Milman have managed to carefully amalgamate universally felt experiences with wit and physicality to create a perfectly honest, sentimental story.
Kuan Foo’s quippy one-liners throughout the play are as funny as they are true, and Diana Bang transforms his almost poetic script into a story that becomes easily relatable to everyone, Asian-Canadian or otherwise. The balance of Diana’s gravitas and her physical comedy bring levity to darker subject matters, which the play addresses with nuance. Dawn Milman makes excellent use of the space, and although at times, the movement on stage becomes busy and hectic, it is necessary to capture the anxiety and tension that has built up inside Esther Jin and inside the audience.
All in all, SELF-ish is definitely a show worth catching before the Vancouver Fringe Festival draws to a close this weekend. Catch the last showing of SELF-ish this Saturday, September 15 at 2:15 p.m. at the Red Gate Revue Stage.