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She Says: Wild Goose Dreams Will Touch Your Heart

She Says: Wild Goose Dreams Will Touch Your Heart

A gireogi appa (Korean: 기러기아빠, literally “goose dad”) is a South Korean man who works in Korea while his wife and children stay in an English-speaking country for the sake of the children’s education.

Hansol Jung’s new play, Wild Goose Dreams is touching, informative, smart, well-acted and directed. It tells of the world of profound loneliness, that is lost in a suffocating social media’s domination of ones and zeros. A co-production between The Public Theater and La Jolla Playhouse, we find an unlikely modern love story inter-spliced with the cold unfeeling world of internet technology versus the fight between South and North Korea’s political crisis.

The play starts off with a fable told by an older gentleman (Francis Jue). “Once upon a time, there was an angel,”he tells us. What he is really is if given wings, would someone angelic choose family over the idea of flight and freedom. Taking into account that Hansol Jung’s compelling new play, Wild Goose Dreams takes place near the border that separates North and South Korea, survivor guilt, shame, and a deep sense of compassion aren’t too far away from that chilly river where the naked angel stands quietly looking for a rescue or a return.

Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.
We then meet Guk Minsung (Peter Kim), a goose father who sends every penny he earns to his wife and daughter relocated to Connecticut. He lives in a 2 x 4 apartment and gets his entertainment through online dating sites. There he meets Yoo Nanhee (Michelle Krusiec), a North Korean defector who has worked to erase her former identity. Both are desperate to emotionally connect.

Interrupting their courtship, New message! New email! Friend request! Poke! this is left to the Greek chorus (Kendyl Ito, Jamar Williams, and Katrina Yaukey) who narrate their digital lives. Chanting ones and zeros ala monastic monks, singing code, repeating Yoo’s and Guk’s messages becoming their digital counterparts (Lulu Fall, Joél Pérez). The detail world is never far away and almost like a big brother.

Both Yoo and Guk have serious baggage and both have spent every dime they have to help their families. Yoo is trying to find her father and bring him to safety, Guk is becoming less and less a part of his family’s world. Yoo, haunted by the spirit of her father, has to make the journey back to North Korea. Guk writes her a love song. The song goes viral, but for Guk loss becomes too great. In the end, a candle signifies that his light will never go out.

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joél Pérez. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Leigh Silverman’s direction is dynamic, whimsical, and inventive, keeping your attention through this map of technological disarray. Clint Ramos’s neon set with digital messages works perfectly with sound designer Palmer Hefferan’s design making this show visually stunning. There is some wonderful work by composer Paul Castles and Korean music composer Jongbin Jung. All the work by movement director Yasmine Lee, costumes designer Linda Cho, and lighting by Keith Parham help to enhance this production.

Francis Jue is humorous and moving in the beginning monologue. Michelle Krushiec and Peter Kim both have chemistry and give layered complexed portrayals. We feel for their plight, in a small way we have been in their lonely cocoons. Lulu Fall, Joél Pérez, Kendyl Ito, Jamar Williams, and Katrina Yaukey are vocally perfect and add to the overall enjoyment of the piece.

Hansol Jung’s work is powerful, with quick shifts and so multi-layered you have to let his words roll over you like waves of water.

I found this piece delightful, poignant, and poetic. We all need to look at how the art of communication is being lost in this technological decade.

Peter Kim (center) and the company of Wild Goose Dreams, written by Hansol Jung and directed by Leigh Silverman, running at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.
Wild Goose Dreams: The Public Theatre, 425 Layfette St. Dec. 16th.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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