Members of the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) once again demonstrated their extraordinary talents writing and staging a premiere production of a new play at the English-Speaking Union. The play, What Should I Do? was written and directed by Gyunhyeong Kim and performed by Nataliia Omelchenko and Mamadou Diabate.
Reflecting their experiences as new immigrants, the play throws a spotlight on a moment when we stand at the crossroads of life: the stark choices which face us all and which, as one character put it, define "our short and irreversible lives." We watch as two people wrestle with this dilemma: Patricia (Nataliia), a talented painter who aspires to be an actress, and John (Mamadou), an acting coach, frustrated in his search for a talented acting pupil but discovering the gifted artist before him.
Nataliia and Mamadou threw themselves into the performance with a passion, confidence and sincerity that was deeply moving. The staging, a small, intimate space, echoed the internal struggle of the characters and drew the audience ever closer to the drama as the story reached its thought-provoking conclusion.
In the discussion after the performance, Director Hyeoung spoke about his writing process and his collaborative approach to directing. He also paid tribute to his actors for their interpretation of his characters and thanked the English Speaking Union and ARNIC for their support and encouragement. Nataliia and Mamadou also thanked ARNIC and their English in Action tutors who had worked with them to prepare their roles.
Most of us understand that a huge amount of work goes into producing a play. How much more is asked of a writer, director and actors when the play is in a language that is not their own! The creativity, talent and hard work shown by Hyeoung, Nataliia and Mamadou are an inspiration. Congratulations for a resounding success!