Theatre Exile will conclude its 25th season with the Philadelphia premiere of Today is My Birthday by screenwriter and playwright Susan Soon He Stanton, known for her work on HBO’s Succession, on Thursday, April 28.
The play, which will run through May 22, revolves around out-of-work journalist Emily, who returns to her home state of Hawaii from New York City. While dealing with struggles in her personal life, such as staying in contact with her best friend Hamlia and grappling with her parents’ separation, she looks to find purpose by creating an alter-ego for a radio dating show.
“Theatre Exile picked Today is My Birthday because we’ve all been so isolated for so long, and it’s become so difficult for us to come back out and connect with the world in a vibrant way,” said Deborah Block, Theatre Exile’s artistic director, in a press release. “There’s a youthful buoyancy in the way the story depicts Emily trying to figure out her life that feels contemporary and relevant.”
Actors featured in the play include Stephanie Kyung-Sun Walters as Emily, Rachel O’Hanlon Rodriguez as Hamlia, and Daniel Kim and Twoey Truong as Emily’s parents. Directing will be handled by Cat Ramirez.
Ramirez said Emily’s journey of finding a renewed sense of self in the world is what most piqued her interest in the play as a whole.
“I remember turning 30 as someone born and raised in Delaware County and questioning why I had stayed in the area, and if I was living up to the expectations I had set for myself in high school,” Ramirez said.
Being that the play is told through a mix of radio broadcasts, voicemails and phone calls, Ramirez said that audiences can expect a unique depiction of those particular scenes.
“Susan Soon He Stanton has created a wonderful artistic playground, never having any of the characters in the same space as Emily,” Ramirez said. “To tell Emily’s story, we will use the element of surprise and lean into what it means to talk to someone who can’t see you.”
More information regarding tickets, which range in price from $10-$35, can be found at theatreexile.org.