Shelley Butler directs FRUITING BODIES by Asian-American playwright Sam Chanse which stars KIMIYE CORWIN (Noises Off, Henry VI), EMMA KIKUE (God Said This, Up the Hill), JEFFREY OMURA (House Rules, Hamlet) and THOM SESMA (Superhero, Sweeney Todd). The Off-Broadway production, which began previews on April 23 prior to its official press opening on April 28 at Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd Street) in Manhattan.
FRUITING BODIES, written by Sam Chanse and directed by Shelley Butler, is the story of two sisters, in a Northern California forest which seems to keep shape-shifting around them, as they go looking for their father who has gotten lost on a routine mushroom-hunting expedition. After encountering a mysterious young boy who bears a striking resemblance to their absent brother, the family searches for the road back, tackling limited visibility and the interfamilial politics of race and gender, pushed to extremes.
This was such a timely and fascinating play. It touches on our current societal needs for “LIKES” on social media, our need for approval, and how we can sometimes ignore the people who are giving that to us in our actual day to day lives. It also touches on parents’ inability to accept their children for who they are, even if it conflicts with their own beliefs, and hopes and dreams for their child.
Jeffrey Omura is delightful and playful as the ten year old boy who has so much to teach this family. Once they are lost in the forest, they each come in contact with him separately to learn a little about themselves. Then, when they are all together, he teaches them so much about their family dynamics and the things they need to pay more attention to or change.
From the title and description, I didn’t expect it to be such a deep and meaningful show but I left there thinking about so much on many levels. If you are in NYC, or plan to be, I suggest checking this one out. You can purchase tickets here. This is one you will talk about for days.