Today is Your Birthday – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Emily Chang wants to discover who she is in this confusing world and she would welcome your support and encouragement on her journey. She has lived and worked in New York, and now after a traumatic break-up with her boyfriend Sebastian she is returning to her roots in Hawaii, hoping to accomplish some positive changes. Until Saturday, February 19, you are invited to accompany Emily on her convoluted travels as she seeks to find her way to adulthood, productivity and love at New Haven’s Yale Repertory Theatre.

After a silence and absence of nearly two years, the Yale Rep is proud to present “Today is My Birthday” by Susan Soon He Stanton and directed by Mina Morita. Jeena Yi portrays a enterprising Emily who returns to her homeland in the hopes that all her questions will be answered and all her prayers will be granted. Her reunion with her parents is her first clue that everything is not well in the state of Denmark and further confirmation of unrest and problems surface quickly as she tries to gain employment. A temporary job as a technical writer is a far cry from her goal of creating her own digital magazine about art and criticism.

This serious journalist is hampered by disappointments at every turn, until a chance encounter as a radio actress, performing soap opera type situations on Z101.3 with DJs Loki and Solange put a little sparkle in her dance steps. Her various encounters with men are alternately a disaster to mildly encouraging and her best friend Halima shares her marital woes with TMI, too much information.

Helping her along the way are a talented troupe of actors who play everyone from past lovers to current parents, employers, friends and acquaintances –

Francis Jue, Gabriel Brown, Chivas Michael, Emily Kuroda and Atra Asdou, twenty five characters in all. You will find yourself cheering Emily on, even as she dries her tears, screams with frustration, and sits alone, tied to her telephone for connection.

For tickets ($10-65), call the Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or online at Performances are Tuesday to Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. All must show proof of vaccination status or recent COVID free test and wear a mask.

Drop in on Emily’s life and help encourage her to grab her dreams and hold on tight. Aloha.