Suitcase Stories: Review

A group of us circled around Maki Yi after her performance. She laughed and smiled warmly at all of us, answering questions and making comments. Maki conversed as if this was routine, as if we’d known each other for years — “What I said I meant: when on stage, you’re all my family.”

Maki Yi’s Suitcase Stories is a biographical celebration of her journey from Korea to Canada. Maki was faced with many obstacles in her dreams of Canadian theatre. She recalls snippets of her adventures by unpacking items from her suitcase, one at a time. In the audience, it felt as if we were kids waiting to open our presents. Only this time, we were more excited for the story behind each present, rather than the object itself.

With her genuine and humorous energy, Maki manages to bring laughter in even the most mundane aspects of her adventure (that being the Canadian immigration bureaucracy). Never before have I delighted in learning so much about the immigration system! (And let me tell you, if you were to test me, or anyone else in the audience, on the differences between immigration offices in Canada and Quebec, we would ace it thanks to Maki’s story!)

Even though it was one woman performing on the stage, her voice pulsated through the room, her movements echoed through the shadows, and her emotions were reflected in each of the objects from her suitcase. Maki Yi embraced the audience the entire time we were there, no matter how short lived, and we reciprocated through our standing applause.

“You are all my family!”