Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Mar. 8- 29: Pursuit of the Perfect Plate: tokyo fish story Premieres at South Coast Repertory starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu

In a world of fusion sushi and evolving techniques, how long can tradition survive as a wave of new ideals challenge the status quo? Playwright Kimber Lee’s tokyo fish story takes a bite out of the sushi world and the mastery behind its plates. Bart DeLorenzo directs this world premiere, starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu, on the Julianne Argyros Stage at South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, March 8-29. Tickets are available at www.scr.org.

The cast of tokyo fish story: Jully Lee, Ryun Yu, Sab Shimono, Lawrence Kao, Eddie Mui.

The cast of tokyo fish story: Jully Lee, Ryun Yu, Sab Shimono, Lawrence Kao, Eddie Mui.

Click here to read more about the cast.

Sushi Master Koji’s restaurant falls into decline as the new hip spot down the street packs customers in. His brilliant protégé Takashi could be the key to bringing glory back to the older restaurant, but out of respect, Takashi unwaveringly follows Koji’s instruction—despite the urgings of Nobu, his hip-hop obsessed assistant and Ama, a punked-out sushi chef trying to make her way in a man’s world. Ambition and tradition come to a head as they attempt to keep the restaurant open, fill their kitchen staff and strike a balance between art and commerce.

Kimber Lee

Kimber Lee

“I’m fascinated by the daily grind behind genius,” said playwright Kimber Lee. Lee also found inspiration in the art behind the food and has used it as a vehicle to reveal the relationships between her characters. “In this play, I was interested in exploring that daily ritual pursuit of perfection, and the way it might press on a relationship between a father and a son. There are such beautiful and painful ways that we hold on to each other and let each other go, even and especially in unspoken moments. And somehow, the food in the play carries those things in a very intimate way.”

Lee has also written the plays fight and brownsville song (b-side for tray), which premiered at the 2014 Humana Festival, with other productions at Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, Long Wharf Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company. In 2014, Center Theatre Group presented the world premiere of her play different words for the same thing, directed by Neel Keller. Her work has been presented by Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Old Globe and Dramatists Guild Fellows Program. Lee is a Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow (2014-15), member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and is currently under commission at theatres including Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, SCR, Denver Center Theatre Company and Hartford Stage. She received the 2014 Ruby Prize, the 2013-14 PoNY Fellowship, the 2014-15 Aetna New Voices Fellowship and the inaugural 2015 PoNY/Bush Theatre Playwright Residency in London.

The design and creative team includes Neil Patel, scenic design; Christina Haatainen-Jones, costume design; Elizabeth Harper, lighting design; John Zalewski, sound design; Jason H. Thompson, projections; and Jerry Patch, dramaturg. The show’s production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Jenny Butler.

tokyo fish story
 is generously supported by Honorary Producers Samuel and Tammy Tang and Bill and Carolyn Klein.

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.

Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run March 8-29. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced preview performances run March 8-12.

Performance Dates, Times: 

  • Previews

o    Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m.

o    Tuesday-Thursday, March 10-12 7:45 p.m.

Note: Friday, March 13, is an invitation-only performance

Regular performances

Special notes: There are no Monday performances. There is no evening performance on Sunday, March 29.

Evenings:

o    Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15, March 21-22, March 28, at 7:45 p.m.

o    Tuesday-Friday, March 17-20, and March 24-27, 7:45 p.m.

Matinees:

o    Saturdays-Sundays, March 14-15, March 21-22, and March 28-29 at 2 p.m.

ASL-interpreted: Saturday, March 28, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18. Discuss the play with cast members of tokyo fish storyduring free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, March 21, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR’s production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of tokyo fish story.The event includes a guided tour of the set. Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Upcoming ProductionsOf Good Stock by Melissa Ross, March 27-April 26; Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph, April 12-May 3; Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, May 8-June 7; and OZ 2.5 by Catherine Trieschmann, May 22-June 7. Pacific Playwrights Festival runs April 24-26. More information is available online: www.scr.org.

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. Of SCR’s 487 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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