Jon Hoche, Olivia Oguma, Jeffrey Omura, Dana Berger and Kaaron Briscoe in The Playwrights Realm’s Production of Don Nguyen’s HELLO, FROM THE CHILDREN OF PLANET EARTH through March 24

Olivia Oguma. Photo by Daniel Vasquez
Olivia Oguma. Photo by Daniel Vasquez

The Playwrights Realm is presenting the world premiere of Don Nguyen’s Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth, at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036, through Saturday, March 24th.

Director Jade King Carroll, Jon Hoche, Dana Berger, Jeffrey Omura, Kaaron Briscoe, Olivia Oguma and Playwright Don Nguyen at Bowlmor Lanes. Photo courtesy of Playwrights Realm/Facebook
Director Jade King Carroll, Jon Hoche, Dana Berger, Jeffrey Omura, Kaaron Briscoe, Olivia Oguma and Playwright Don Nguyen at Bowlmor Lanes. Photo courtesy of Playwrights Realm/Facebook

The cast features Jon Hoche, Olivia Oguma, Jeffrey Omura, Dana Berger and Kaaron Briscoe. Jade King Carroll directs.

Dana Berger, Jon Hoche, Jeffrey Omura, Kaaron Briscoe. Photo by Daniel Vasquez
Dana Berger, Jon Hoche, Jeffrey Omura, Kaaron Briscoe. Photo by Daniel Vasquez

The Playwrights Realm (Katherine Kovner, Founding Artistic Director; Roberta Pereira, Producing Director) continues its 2017-2018 season this Spring with Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth, a quirky, philosophical, and tender comedy from Queens-based playwright Don Nguyen. Split between the perspectives of a lesbian couple trying to conceive, and their potential-sperm-donor/aerospace engineer friend, Nguyen’s characters are stretched to contemplate the unknowns of their future.

Dana Berger, Kaaron Briscoe. Photo by Daniel Vasquez
Dana Berger, Kaaron Briscoe. Photo by Daniel Vasquez

Betsy (Kaaron Briscoe) and Shoshana (Dana Berger) are looking for a sperm donor to participate in this emotionally confusing and intimate process. They contact a friend from Betsy’s past, William (Jeffrey Omura), an aerospace engineer tasked with tracking Voyager 1 as it journeys to the edge of our solar system. The idea of being responsible for a fragile object millions of miles away is dizzying-but it turns out, so is being asked to create an individual, and to wait, uncertain as to whether it will even work at all. Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth finds mystery and depth by juxtaposing the microscopic intimacies of creating life against the vastness of space. The highly unpredictable journeys of space exploration and conception provoke a raw whirlwind of emotion for all.

Jon Hoche, Jeffrey Omura. Photo by Daniel Vasquez
Jon Hoche, Jeffrey Omura. Photo by Daniel Vasquez

Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth sets its own precedent at The Playwrights Realm: it’s their first production by a former fellow that did not originate in the program-another opportunity for the organization to help actualize Nguyen’s work and be a continued champion of his exciting career. Nguyen’s play features characters brought forward in time from another of his works: William and Betsy’s high school friendship is explored in his earlier play The Commencement of William Tan (which premiered at Yale Cabaret in 2015). As he did with that work, about an Asian American high schooler in Nebraska in the ’80s (Nguyen was born in Vietnam, and moved to Nebraska with his family as refugees of the Vietnam War when he was three), Nguyen likewise laces Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth with questions from his own life. Nguyen was himself presented with the very adult experience of being asked by two friends to be a sperm donor, and he decided to evolve these characters along with him to get a more lucid understanding of his own situation -tracking their lives as career and family threaten to become mutually exclusive, as idealism starts giving way to realism. “I had to take stock of my entire life and ask myself questions I didn’t think I was ready to ask. What I found is artificial insemination is not an easy thing-there are complications involved that you really have to discuss,” says Nguyen.

Olivia Oguma. Photo by Daniel Vasquez
Olivia Oguma. Photo by Daniel Vasquez

The creative team includes Kimie Nishikawa (Set Designer), Nicole Pearce (Lighting Designer), Elisheba Ittoop (Sound Designer), and Ari Fulton (Costume Designer). Kara Kaufman is Production Stage Manager, and Lily Perlmutter is Assistant Stage Manager.

General tickets will be priced at $30-$60; tickets for students with valid ID are $15, and group tickets are $25 per seat for groups of six or more. To purchase, please visit http://dukeon42.org/ or call 646-223-3010. For more details, please visit playwrightsrealm.org.

 

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