When: March 6-25 2018
Playwright Julia Cho’s Office Hour is tragically relevant. When a young Asian-American college student’s pornographic writing and sullen, loner behavior stirs the protectionist blood of two faculty members, they enlist a colleague to intervene. Tiptoeing into the muck of prejudice, they indirectly suggest the Korean-American advisor’s racial background will exclude her from danger — even as one professor refers to him as “a classic shooter.” At the same time, the two characters bond over shared human frailty, immigrant status, overbearing parental expectations, and living in a world that often values conformity over creativity. Like Cho’s Aubergine, which the Rep staged in 2016, the roughly 90-minute, intermission-less play employs streamlined production elements to address larger themes of otherness, gun reform, violence in public places, mental illness, racial identity, and social anxiety. A cautionary word: The performance includes staged, recorded gunfire that some people may find disturbing. In program notes, director Lisa Peterson says, “…people come to the theater to address fear and to think about complication.” Get ready to do both.