When: Until Nov. 17
Where: The Cultch Historic Theatre
Tickets & Info: From $26 at thecultch.com
Tetsuro Shigematsu’s playwriting has up to now rocketed him to luck. His extremely authentic first two performs, carried out solo, drew sold-out properties. Empire of the Son deservedly won more than one Jessie Award nominations and a countrywide excursion. 1 Hour Photo was once shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award.
His 3rd play, Kuroko, now premiering at The Cultch, is an ensemble circle of relatives drama with 5 actors. A Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre manufacturing directed via Amiel Gladstone, it options sturdy central performances, a postmodern glance and unconventional get started, however runs into hassle in each its building and conclusion.
Set in Tokyo, the place salaryman Hiroshi (John Ng) has simply misplaced his activity, the play centres on his 23-year-old daughter Maya (Kanon Hewitt), who has infrequently left her room in six years. Maya is hikikomori, affected by the Japanese phenomenon of excessive reclusiveness. Desperate Hiroshi has determined to kill himself to go away Maya and spouse Naomi (Manami Hara) together with his existence insurance coverage, however now not ahead of bringing Maya out of her shell. He is going for assist to Miss Asa (Donna Soares) and her Better Than Real Life company.
Intercut with the ones scenes are forays into Virtual Reality the place Maya spends her time taking part in video games. Her avatar in that international, a victorious warrior lady, meets the klutzy avatar of Kenzo (Lou Ticzon). Gradually, she teaches him to refine his gamesmanship, they bond and paintings in combination in VR, and he or she slowly starts to emerge from her room and have interaction along with her oldsters. Eventually, she leaves the home and learns to journey the subway.
All this takes position in and round Sophie Tang’s good-looking clear dice set with sliding panels on which Remy Siu’s projections identify the settings. Within the dice the actors rearrange modular items between the fast scenes, growing partitions, a desk, a table, seats.
Maya’s and Kenzo’s avatars, in VR goggles and infrequently strange animal heads, are humorous and candy. Ticzon’s Kenzo is lovely in his goofy ineptitude and Hewitt does a pleasant activity setting up the distinction between Maya’s hikikomori paranoia and her self belief on-line.
Those gamer scenes, regardless that, begin to really feel repetitious, as do the rearrangements of the modular items after some time. Even a artful riff on characters descending a subway escalator, an target market favorite, will get repeated as soon as too frequently. It’s nearly as though playwright and director have been padding out a skinny tale.
But the tale isn’t skinny in any respect. The budding dating between Maya and Kenzo, who after all meet in individual, is interesting, and Ng makes Hiroshi’s worry for his daughter transferring. (The mom’s persona is simply ugly, a task Hara will get caught with too frequently.)
Then the script takes a flip clear of them. Maya had a teenage brother who disappeared, an offstage persona we by no means meet. The ultimate scenes of the play revolve round his absence, resolving in what must be an emotionally cathartic climax that doesn’t slightly paintings.
At most effective 90 mins with out intermission the play is brief however feels longer. I sought after extra of Maya and Kenzo in actual existence and a few exploration of why neither brother nor sister may serve as in that circle of relatives. This promising new play stays a piece in growth.