PICK! ASR Theater ~~ “My Home on the Moon”, S.F. Playhouse’s Huge Serving of Hilarious Cyber-Pho!

By Susan Dunn

Here’s a play that will teach us how to make the Vietnamese soup specialty: Pho. Not quite! My Home on the Moon quickly takes us from our ordinary lives to other realities in the cyber world.

Act One opens on an average-looking Asian soup shop, adorned with pictures of the homeland and featuring a much-revered shrine to the shop owner’s sister, and former joint owner. The discouraged proprietress Lan (versatile and winning Sharon Omi) reveals the desperate straits her business is experiencing with the neighborhood takeover by mega-corporations and the fall to the wrecker’s ball of small businesses like hers.

…”My Home on the Moon” is a humorous take on a Matrix-like reality…

Lan is joined by her grouchy assistant Mai (hilariously played by Jenny Nguyen Nelson), who breaks the 4th wall to great effect. Soon enough, we hear the doom of a building being crushed to rubble off-stage. The corporate enemy is closing in.

Lan (Sharon Omi) reminisces about her childhood with a giant noodle (background: puppeteered by Erin Mei-Ling Stuart) on the moon in San Francisco Playhouse’s World Premiere Play “My Home on the Moon,” performing January 25 – February 24. Photo Credit: Jessica Palopoli

But Lan has applied for a financial aid grant for her shop, and her winnings come in to save it from default. First, a huge basket of delectable Vietnamese goodies appears, and the consumables seem to anesthetize Lan and Mai, whose binge puts them prone on the floor.

Next, they are greeted by marketeer Vera, who represents Novus Corporation, the company taking over local real estate. She promises the shop will be transformed, dripping with cachét and busy with customers now that Lan has won the grant. And Vera, smartly and charmingly played by Rinabeth Apostal, can make it all happen: the blank white shop turns to orange ambience, NFTs (Non-fungible tokens in cyber-talk) grace the walls, and the backyard becomes a Vietnamese jungle.

(L-R) A food critic (Will Dao) samples cuisine, watched by Lan (Sharon Omi), Mai (Jenny Nguyen Nelson) and a camera person (Erin Mei-Ling Stuart) in SF Playhouse’s “My Home on the Moon.” Photo Credit: Jessica Palopoli

Miraculously, both Lan and Mai are smartly re-uniformed to enhance the look of the café. But who is Vera really? And why doesn’t she eat the fabulous Pho?

Understanding who is real and who is a robot or ‘simulation’ challenges us as the story and timeline proceed, and actors take on multiple roles. A standout is Will Dao, playing four very different personas, all to amazing effect. He grabs our attention immediately with every unexpected appearance. This is truly an eye-popping show, replete with suggestive dancers, sinuous and menacing cyber light cords, and alternate states of consciousness or digital manipulation depending on which of the corporate robots or managers are controlling the scene.

Mai (Jenny Nguyen Nelson) and Vera (Rinabeth Apostol) share a moment at San Francisco Playhouse. Photo Credit: Jessica Palopoli

The challenge and ultimate success of scene changes and manipulations are handsomely done by the creative team under the direction of Mei Ann Teo. Projections are used to great effect in many scenes and in many parts of the stage by Hao Bai, and the scene swivels to reveal three different sets, times/places and states of consciousness.

Finally we are left to ponder what reality we live in. Is it the actual world, or is it the digital river of games, memes, virtual reality, NFTs and other predations on our consciousness?

My Home on the Moon is a humorous take on a Matrix-like reality where people are trapped in a simulated digital world. Warning: the constant food themes may spark your hunger for an immediate bowl of Pho.


Since arriving in California from New York in 1991, Susan Dunn has been on the executive boards of Hillbarn Theatre, Altarena Playhouse, Berkeley Playhouse, Virago Theatre and Island City Opera, where she is a development director and stage manager. An enthusiastic advocate for new productions and local playwrights, she is a voting member of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and a recipient of a 2015 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award. Contact: susanmdunn@yahoo.com

ProductionMy Home On The Moon
Written byMinna Lee
Directed byMei Ann Teo
Producing CompanySan Francisco Playhouse
Production DatesThru Feb 24th
Production AddressSF Playhouse
450 Post Street
San Francisco, CA
Telephone(415) 677-9596
Tickets$15 - $125
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?YES!