If you plan on checking out the Toronto Fringe Festival and are interested in immigrant narratives, Kim’s Convenience is a play that is a perfect match. Winner of the 2011 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest, portraying a Korean Canadian family who owns a convenience store in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood.
This story is especially poignant today, given the fact that the number of Korean grocers in America is dwindling, due to the fact that the second-generation Korean children (whose parents owned grocery stores) are unwilling to inherit the family store, instead deciding to pursue more white-collar jobs. Yet, as the New York Times pointed out, the grocery store is the sentimental site of hope and dreams for many.
In Kim’s Convenience, the Korean Canadian couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kim, live in a small 3-bedroom apartment above their convenience store with their 30-year-old daughter. Even though the couple always dreamed of passing on their store to one of their children one day, their vision is shaken up when Mr. Kim receives an offer to sell the store. Written by Soulpepper Theatre’s playwright Ins Choi, the play also boasts renowned Korean American and Korean Canadian actors who are active in film, TV and theatre.