Bina’s Six Apples at Children’s Theatre Company – Review and Parental Guidance

Olivia Lampert in The Children's Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples. Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children's Theatre Company, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Bina’s Six Apples is a story about a young girl, Bina, and her family as they journey from their home to a hopefully safer place during the Korean War. While the play is fiction, it is based on Playwright Lloyd Suh’s own family lore. Suh’s father was given apples to carry as his own family fled the fighting in 1950.

Bina's Six Apples - Olivia Lampert and Jayden Ham in The Children's Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples. Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children's Theatre Company, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn.
Olivia Lampert-Jayden Ham in The CTC production of Bina’s Six Apples.
Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography.

Sharing Bina’s Six Apples with Kids

Bina’s Six Apples was an emotionally exhausting but ultimately gratifying experience. Stories like this always are. While I hope to never have to experience war or displacement first hand, I believe it is important to experience hardship through fiction and stories so we can gain some understanding. Bring your older kids to this and, if they don’t talk much about it, that is okay, sometimes it takes time to process.

If they are interested in talking about it, these are a few points that came up for us:

  1. You can share your own emotional response to the story. I cried through a great deal of the story. As a parent, you may react differently than your child who is closer to Bina’s Age.
  2. Pull out the map on page 9 of the program. It helps give context to the story if you are unfamiliar with South Korea. The family trekked 70 miles through mountains. To give a little context, this would be like your family walking from Minneapolis to Owatonna — but with mountains.
  3.  How much could you carry? My son pointed out that Bina could have carried more than 6 apples, but remember the 70 miles of mountainous territory and the fact that the real child who carried the apples was actually much younger than Bina in the story.
  4. Bina meets several people along the way. How do you feel about each of these people. How does your child see the interactions differently than you do.
Cast of Bina's Six Apples in The Children's Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples. Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children's Theatre Company, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Children’s Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples.
Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children’s Theatre Company.

Books About Korea for Kids

If you would like to learn more about Korea, this is a somewhat neglected area of children’s fiction in the U.S., but the website kiBooka.com was created by author Linda Sue Park (A Long Walk to Water) to share children’s books about Korean history by Korean American authors. This page shares age-appropriate books for middle grade kids.

Trailer:

About Bina’s Six Apples

Bina’s family grows the finest apples in all of Korea. But when war forces her to flee her home, Bina is alone in the world with just six precious apples to her name. Can these meager possessions help her find her family? Join Bina on her adventure that ranges from the heartbreaking to the humorous. Encountering new challenges at every turn, Bina is forced to rely upon her apples and their meaningful legacy as she begins to discover the power of her own resilience. Often mesmerizing, always heartwarming, Bina realizes she’s not the only one on a difficult quest for a place to call home.

Bina’s Six Apples runs January 9-February 13, 2022

  • ASL/AD Performances: Friday, February 4, 2022, 7pm
  • Sensory Friendly Performance: Friday, February 11, 2022 at 7pm

Parental Guidance for Bina’s Six Apples

Children’s Theatre recommends this play for ages 9 and up and therefore does not offer lap passes. This is a pretty accurate recommendation, I’m also glad I had not brought my very sensitive 10-year-old. There is one particularly scary bomb scene early on where the whole theater goes dark. Experience has taught me that little children and sensitive children can rarely pull themselves back from a scene like that.

Beyond the one scary scene, there is subtlety and imagery that would be lost on young kids. The actors often stood in for props when they weren’t actively in a scene. For a more mature audience this was wonderful as it gave personality to inanimate objects and added to the atmosphere. I was happy to be attending with a middle schooler who understood the subtleties without needing to ask questions during dialogue or action.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend taking some time to see this play with your middle grade schooler, high schooler and as a grown-up date.

 

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