“War Babies” Explores Aftermath of DNA Discovery
What happens when an African American woman discovers through searching her roots that she has a half Korean sister?
This is the premise behind “War Babies,” a ten minute play produced by Towne Street Theatre as part of their Ten Minute Play Festival running through Sunday, April 29, at the Stella Adler Theatre. The conversation between two very different women who share the same African American father is meant to enlighten and shift perceptions, according to playwright Madeline Puccini.
The playwright based the story on her own personal experience. Puccini’s uncle was a colonel in the US Army and served during the Korean War. She remembers her uncle as being a very closed man with a strict demeanor. He had a strained relationship with his daughter, Puccini’s cousin, Jackie.
When Puccini researched her ancestry and found she was a 90 percent match with an 82-year old Korean woman, she suspected that it was her uncle’s daughter. She wondered what the conversation would be if these two woman, her cousin and her half Korean sister, met.
“I thought, ‘These two daughters would remember their father in two completely different ways,” said Puccini. “Each would have preconceived ideas of the other’s relationship with the father.”
Puccini researched children fathered by soldiers during the Korean War and found that there were tens of thousands of “war babies” left behind. In the patriarchal society of Korea in the 50s and 60s, life was not easy for these children and their mothers. Shunned by society, many of these unwed mothers could not find work and the children were often abandoned.
“War Babies” explores the lives of the daughter left behind and the daughter who never really understood her distant father.
Puccini’s play is one of 10 ten minute plays in Town Street Theatre’s Ten Minute Play Festival. This is the tenth year for the play festival and co-producer Nancy Cheryll Davis says each year audiences are astounded at how much can be portrayed in ten minutes.
“It’s one of our most popular productions” says Davis. “I think people like the variety of the plays. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. You never know what’s coming next.”
Other plays in the festival include “$500 an hour” by James Rosenfield; “A Ferry Tale,” by Donna Warfield; “Sabrina’s Christening,” by Kevin Harold Davis; “The Wedding Topper,” by Dan Borengasser; “Not my Type,” by Marsha Roberts; and “Let’s Stay Together, Al Green,” by Steffi Rubin.
Each night, audience members have the opportunity to vote for their favorite play. At the end of the festival, all votes are tallied and the top four playwrights will receive cash prizes.
The final performances for Towne Street Theatre’s 10 Ten Minute Play Festival are April 27 -29 at the Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. For more information visit www.townestreetla.org/10thplayfestival .