THE STORY: Four women come together to clean the house of a fifth after her tragic suicide upsets the balance of life in their small Japanese immigrant community in the middle of the Kansas heartland. The spirit of the dead woman returns as a ghostly ringmaster to force the women to come to terms with the disquieting tension of their lives and find common ground so that she can escape from the limbo between life and death, and move on to the next world in peace—and indeed carve a pathway for their future passage. Set in Junction City, Kansas, 1968; and netherworlds.
“This is a play too marvelous to grasp in one viewing. A cornucopia of theatrical delights, there is so much to please the eye and the ear. The play is a fascinating mix of insightful exploration and simple poetic imagery.” —Drama-Logue. “A play written with a very deft poetic touch…[Houston] has taken her consciousness as woman and as Japanese American, filtered them through the lessons of history and the experience of parents and others, and brilliantly illuminated [a] much broader sociopolitical canvas.” —LA Times. “A fresh, imaginative and fascinating play…Houston has, with TEA, cast light on a shadowy chapter of modern U.S. history, and she has done so with anger, affection, honesty, and wisdom. TEA is a wonderful piece of work.” —San Diego Union-Tribune. “TEA is more than a play; it is an amazing experience that will leave you changed, wiser, and with a new understanding. It is what great theater is all about.” —Trentonian. “The fates of five…Japanese women transplanted to the U.S. are at the heart of…Houston’s deeply moving and insightful play…here is such a sense of lives explored…of personal journeys full of upheaval and adjustment…that you leave the theater shaken and reawakened.” —Chicago Sun-Times. “TEA is a play about coming to terms with the present and, ultimately, with the past and future. It is so excellently crafted that…it’s as though the audience is part of the…gathering, coming to terms with our own lives, and also with ourselves.” —Davis Enterprise.
“…[TEA] sheds light on intriguing aspects of class, cultural adaptation, racism and friendship…What is achieved…is a choral and impressionistic group portrait: a graceful interweaving of memory in and through the lives…of the four peers who gather to put the dead woman’s house in order…[TEA] glides with remarkable smoothness between evocations of past and present.” —Seattle Times.