spoken word

Watch Playwright Ins Choi Perform “Mine Eyes Are Lean,” a Poem About Being an Asian Actor, for Hawaii Five-O Stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park

News of Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park’s unceremonious exits from Hawaii Five-O reached the Signature Theatre Company in New York on Saturday night, when Ins Choi — the playwright and star of the Off Broadway play Kim’s Convenience — performed his poem “Mine Eyes Are Lean” after the show. Part of the production’s Soulpepper Cabaret series, the spoken-word poetry was dedicated to Kim and Park, as Choi recounted his history of auditioning for parts as an Asian actor. “When I audition, I get ‘Chinese Waiter Number Five’ in the background — true story,” one verse goes. “When I audition, I get Vietnamese band member in the background, playing for white G.I.’s in the foreground — true story.” Choi’s Kim’s Convenience, which premiered in Canada back in 2011, centers on a Korean-owned convenience store in Toronto and has since spawned a Canadian television series of the same name. Daniel Dae Kim saw a production of the show a few years back and “loved it so much,” according to Canada’s CBC News, that he hoped to stage Kim’s Convenience in Hawaii — where he was shooting Five-O at the time. Let’s call this powerful reading from Choi a beautiful if bittersweet full-circle moment.

This video was taken by New York theater videographer Howard Sherman.

Watch This Poem Dedication to Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park