PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A new production is turning the stage into a kitchen and the creator is cooking up traditional comfort foods to connect with the audience through storytelling and culture.
"In Search of the Kitchen Gods" is a one-woman show written by and starring Barrymore-award winning writer Bi Jean Ngo.
"It's about my family's cultural heritage," says Bi Jean Ngo, "You'll feel more like you're actually in my kitchen."
She designed the set to replicate her mother's kitchen.
"The suburban kitchen I grew up in," says Ngo, "Mismatched furniture, my mom's apron.
Ngo is Vietnamese American and draws on stories and spiritual beliefs of her upbringing.
"My mom was a really awesome cook. And she taught me much," says Ngo.
It's Ngo's way of celebrating her parent's legacy.
"My parents left Saigon in the spring of 1975," says Ngo, "The honoring of the Kitchen Gods is part of an annual holiday called Tet.
It's a New Year's custom to bring in good wishes for the household.
"The kitchen and his wife and friend ascend to the heavens and kinda do a yearly report," says Ngo.
Ngo is cooking up a traditional Vietnamese pork patty along with a vegan option that audiences can take home.
"Usually, you'll see it featured in a dish called Bún Ch, but I'm serving it on rice," says Ngo.
She says her search for the kitchen gods is really her search for community in the midst of the pandemic and anti-Asian hate.
"I really wanted to work against that," says Ngo, "When you come to the table, you create a level of understanding and commonality, all through this lens of humor."
The intimate show is being staged at Theatre Exile by 1812 Productions and is playing through June 26th.
1812 Productions: In Search of the Kitchen Gods | Instagram | Facebook
All Performances at Theatre Exile
1340 South 13th Street, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Playing through June 26, 2022