Second-generation Korean Jimmy Lee (Andrew Cristi) is building up his vocabulary in anticipation of applying for college in a few years. He’s a bright, engaging kid, always looking for bigger and better words to say what he means. As he and his older brother Isaac (Peter Kim) differ about taking a road trip with their Korean immigrant father Boo-Seng Lee (Thom Sesma), Jimmy gropes for a word to describe why he feels it’s important. He finally lands on it: “auspicious.”
In Julia Cho’s new play, Durango, getting its Midwestern premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse, “auspicious” not only describes the road trip on which she sends her three principal characters, it is certainly applicable to this script by a relatively unknown playwright.
This is a story with a lot of real-life texture: Boo-Seng, in the opening scenes, loses his job with a tech company where his cultural differences have made him an expendable employee — especially given his age, 56. But his pride prevents him from sharing his loss with his sons, who he’s been raising as a single parent since his wife’s death a decade earlier. Now he knows his only path to success is through them. “Where did I learn to want so little for myself?” he asks. See review here.