American Repertory Theater (A.R.T) is presenting Celine Song’s Endlings, directed by Sammi Cannold and featuring Wai Ching Ho, Emily Kuroda, Jiehae Park, and Jo Yang, Endlings begins previews Tuesday, February 26; opens Friday, March 1; and closes Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA.
On the Korean island of Man-Jae, three elderly “haenyeos”-sea women-spend their dying days diving into the ocean to harvest seafood. They have no heirs to their millennia-old way of life. Across the globe on the island of Manhattan, a Korean-Canadian playwright, twice an immigrant, spends her days wrestling with the expectation that she write “authentic” stories about her identity. But what, exactly, is her identity? And how can she write about it without selling her own skin? This daring new play by Celine Song (Amazon’s “The Wheel of Time,” Public Theater’s 2016-2017 Emerging Writers Group) journeys beneath the waves under the direction of Sammi Cannold (Violet at A.R.T., Forbes 30 Under 30).
“I wrote Endlings thinking it was going to be the last play I’d write,” said Song. “Theater had broken my heart so many times, so this time I wrote whatever I wanted, even if it was unproducible. When the A.R.T. said it would take a risk on this play, it restored whatever faith I had in theater.”
“When I first read Endlings, I fell in love instantaneously with its audacity and knew it would require a fearless theater to realize Celine’s thrilling vision for this story,” said Cannold. “I’ve had the good fortune of working on nine productions at the A.R.T. and have seen time and again the theater’s undying commitment to audacious, boundary-breaking work, so I can’t imagine a more perfect home for Endlings’ premiere.”
The Endlings cast features: Wai Ching Ho as haenyeo Han Sol (Madam Gao from the Marvel TV universe, “Fresh Off the Boat,” and Henry VI with the National Asian American Theatre Company); Emily Kuroda as haenyeo Go Min (“Gilmore Girls” and Tiger Style! at the Huntington Theater Company); Jiehae Park as playwright Ha Young (Haruki Murakami’s SLEEP at BAM Next Wave Festival and others, Every Angel is Brutal at Clubbed Thumb, and the author of peerless, which premiered at Yale Rep and was recently produced at Boston’s Company One Theatre); Jo Yang as haenyeo Sook Ja (Comfort Women at Urban Stages and “The Affair”) and Miles G. Jackson as White Husband (Hand to God at TheatreWorks Hartford and Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage Company)
The Endlings cast also includes Matt DaSilva, Mark Mauriello, Andy Paterson, and Keith Michael Pinault. Kate Pak is the understudy for the roles of Han Sol, Go Min, and Sook Ja.
ENDLINGS CREATIVE TEAM
Celine Song, Playwright (Tom & Eliza-semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation’s 2016 Relentless Award, The Feast, and Family; 2017/18 Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow; Member of The Public Theater’s 2016/17 Emerging Writers Group and Ars Nova’s 2014/15 Play Group);
Sammi Cannold, Director (Violet at American Repertory Theater, Ragtime on Ellis Island, associate director of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and In the Body of the World at the A.R.T. and beyond; one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment, Class of 2019)
Jason Sherwood, Scenic Designer (ExtraOrdinary at the A.R.T.; “Rent: Live” on FOX, musician Sam Smith’s world tour); Linda Cho, Costume Designer (Anastasia, A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder-Tony Award, and Lifespan of a Fact on Broadway); Bradley King, Lighting Designer (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 at the A.R.T. and on Broadway, for which he received the Tony Award; O.P.C. at the A.R.T.); Elisheba Ittoop, Sound Designer (Eve’s Song at The Public Theater and The Niceties at the Huntington Theatre Company, MTC, and the McCarter Theatre Center).
Tickets start at $25 and are available now online at americanrepertorytheater.org, by phone at 617.547.8300, and in person at the Loeb Drama Center Ticket Services Offices (64 Brattle Street, Cambridge). Discounts are available to Subscribers, Members, groups, students, seniors, Blue Star families, EBT card holders, and others.