Departures and Arrivals: A Review

We’re glad this play arrived, but we’re sad to see it depart.

Who’s ready for an amazing night full of laughing, crying, and bonding of special individuals bring everyday airport stories to life? From Thursday to Saturday, the KIS Theatre Department brought on the 2015 Fall Play named Departures and Arrivals into action, after three months of intense preparation. In 22 separate vignettes set in an airport departure and arrival lounge, the play captures a spectrum of a delightful variety of travelers awakening to a contemporary limbo. I, as an excited guest, was lucky enough to grab the ticket for the opening night of the show, Thursday on the 12th of November.

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Ticket and program for Departures and Arrivals.

The play featured 17 talented student actors and actresses under the director Ms. Lauren Cuellar, composed of Emma Kang (9), Skylar Kim (9), Jisoo Hope Yoon (9), Jessica Kwon (9), Danny Jung (9), Jared Son (9), Daniel Kim (9), Joonjae Kim (9), Jee-In Kwon (10), Joey Park (10), JD Choi (10), Noah Kim (10), Jae Won Shim (10), Eunice Na (11), Alex Kim (11), Scott Kim (11), and Subin Hur (12). Also, there were four stage managers in total, along with multiple backstage members dealing with lights and sounds. Some members had plenty of theatre experience in the past, while this show was the first time ever for the others. Nevertheless, the cast was able to write some of their own scenes to be integrated into the play – an aspect different from the original production.

Departures and Arrivals
Did you catch the “cameo” by a KIS theater alumni Jeongmin Cho (’15)?

The overall concept is pretty simple: the show presents an indeterminate length of time in a typical public airport space, depicting 22 different daily events that occur in the area. There were even one constant episode of soap-opera-esque scenes between two female and male flight attendants, divided into four parts. Every aspect of the physical theatre set, ranging from the very familiar signage overhead directing the audience to Departures and Arrivals, set of stools set around to create the airport lounge feel, metal detectors, luggages, and so forth, was all an integral character to the show.

Departures and Arrivals
Departures and Arrivals

Throughout the course of the play, the audience was introduced to silent actions, back-and-forth of conversations and interior monologues all of which told us fragments of the dynamic lives of the passengers and crews who pass through the lounge. The tone also varied from insanely comic (provoking belly laughs) to fiery-passionate, subdued melodrama to deeply moving reality, astonishingly straightforward to furtive innuendo. Even snippets of different soundtracks played during scene transitions heightened the atmosphere, effectively grasping the audience’s attention the whole time.

Departures and Arrivals
A lot of Daniel Kim’s (9) acting was actually impromptu — talk about a skilled actor!

One of the greatest strengths of the play was the costumes of the students. So many different characters featured in the show meant that each actor and actress had plenty of room to show off their emotions by embodying different styles and personas. Therefore, the austere yet efficacious costume changes and signage worked flawlessly to capture the detached environment of an airport, which contrasted with the quirky and whimsical personalities of the acting individuals. It was evident that the crew had a limited source of costumes available for the actors/actresses, but the way they reused and restyled each outfit to fit all the different characters told me that they had put a lot of thought and practice into every single element of the play. Furthermore, when it came down to the transitional scenes, changing spotlights and continuing character motifs, both the cast and crew did a consistently exceptional job in maintaining continuity to not break the flow of the show. Also, the pre-recorded voiceovers were perfectly in-sync with the mouthing of the actors and highlighted their impeccable acting as well as their dynamic face expressions.

Departures and Arrivals
Surprise! This skit drew some laughter when the character revealed to only have one eye.

All in all, this play was an ambitiously sensational, textured, and engaging production definitely worth seeing and investing in two precious hours of my busy schedule. Regardless of the risky decision to go upon a wide emotional palette that could have gone chaotic more or less, the show resulted in a captivating, phenomenal performance with a delightful explosion of standing ovation.

– Ashley Kim (‘18)

Featured Image: JohnDavid Choi (’18)

Author: Ashley Kim

I am in the KIS Blueprint club.

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