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"KIM'S CONVENIENCE" PLAY

Honourable Senators,

 I rise today to speak about "Kim's Convenience", an award winning play written by Ins Choi, a Toronto playwright and actor, which has become a part of Canadian theatre history.

 Kim's Convenience" takes place in a Korean owned convenience store in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. It is the story of an immigrant Korean family, yet has had broad appeal with universal themes of family, redemption, forgiveness and, love.

Written from personal experiences, there is a sense of integrity and authenticity about the story and its memorable characters.

Appa                                                played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee

Umma                                              played by Jean Yoon

Jung the prodigal son                    played by Ins Choi

Janet                                                played by Grace Lynn Kung

Rich, Mr. Lee, Mike, Alex   played by Andre Sills

 "Kim's Convenience" debuted in the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival and won the Best New Play award and has since received many accolades.

 Since 2013, it has been on a national theatre tour in Canada, and is currently playing at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, until February 8th, 2014. The trajectory of success continues as the play is being developed for a TV comedy series.

 Senator Nancy Ruth, my nephew Thelonious Kim Marriott (himself a talented actor, writer, singer, composer) and I watched "Kim's Convenience" last night. During the talk back segment after the show, a gentleman wanted to know when the "sequel" to "Kim's Convenience" will be ready.

 Later, Thelonious said he could also envision a "prequel". Long afterwards, I still heard the voices of Appa and Janet (the unmarried 30-year-old "single, ready to mingle") in my head and fell asleep thinking about my own dearly departed Appa.

 Ins Choi said it best when asked about what this play means to him “I feel like we’re changing the face of Canadian theatre… the story is an immigrant story and reflects the change that has been going on in Canada for the past 50 years, the change that is happening now to every city in Canada, and the change that’s going to continue to happen. And it not only puts it onstage and shares it, but it celebrates it and it welcomes others in the audience to celebrate this change that is happening”. (The Canadian Press: July 07, 2013)

 Last night, one of the audience members said her favourite element of the play was the Korean language sprinkled into various scenes. She didn't understand it, but enjoyed the sound of it.

 Ins replied, "Having Korean spoken on stage was important to me...to say we are here, too."

 Indeed. It was important for me and will be equally so for all Canadians of Korean descent who watch "Kim's Convenience" and see their own story mirrored on the stage.

 Appa...I love you. I miss you.

 Honourable Senators, please join me in congratulating Ins Choi and his brilliant cast.

 Ins. Everyone. Congratulations. Hwi-ting!

 

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