K-BOX explores the hard truths of parent-adoptee relationships
Malthouse Theatre’s current Artist in Residence (AIR) Ra Chapman is making her mainstage theatre writing debut on September 2 with K-BOX.
As Malthouse’s 2018/2019 Writer in Residence before becoming an AIR, Ms Chapman said she was drawn to the new program at Malthouse due to her interest in what the theatre was currently doing with their storytelling.
“I really enjoy the work Malthouse Theatre is making and what they are trying to change and achieve about the type of stories that are on our stages, and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said.
Funded internally by Malthouse, the program is designed to support new perspectives and fresh ideas, and after writing K-BOX for years Ms Chapman is getting the chance to share a story very close to her heart.
While not based on her life specifically, the storyline follows the confusing journey many people face in the adoptee community – a community Ms Chapman is a part of.
“Ever since I met my birth father in Korea, I have been reconnecting with the adoptee community in Australia and internationally, and it made me realise there was so much I had been missing or that I didn’t know about the adoptee experience,” Ms Chapman said.
“It’s not a play that has all the answers because the experience of being adopted and choosing to connect with your birth culture, birth family and other adoptees is a rocky one with lots of ups and downs.”
“The writing mimics the very condensed version of the emotional rollercoaster that it is to have this awakening.”
Although written to be both moving and emotional, K-BOX also leans into comedic moments as Korean adoptee Lucy’s life gets turned upside down in her 30s and she has to move back home to live with her adoptive parents.
It is then as an adult she is met with destabilising questions that leave her wondering who she is.
“I want to share with audiences the joy and devastation and the impossible choices you are faced with when you attempt to find something you’ve lost, while still wanting to hold onto what you have,” Ms Chapman said.
A confronting storyline that steers away from delving into what is wrong and right or good and bad about adoption, K-BOX lifts the lid on the relationship between parent-adoptee relationships and brings the audience along to discover the awakening that occurs.
As well as being written by Ra Chapman, K-BOX is directed by Bridget Balodis, Malthouse Theatre’s Director in Residence.
Performed in the Beckett Theatre, K-BOX will run until September 18. •