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Japanese Playwrights Project (Day 1): Satoko Ichihara/Kristine Haruna Lee, Jun Tsutsui/Soraya Broukhim, Kuro Tanino/Mallory Catlett

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Nov 12, 2018
Nov 12, 2018
Segal Theatre

Kuro Tanino’s Avidya – No Light’s Inn. Photo by Shinsuke Sugino

Monday, November 12
Segal Theatre
2:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm Readings + Discussions

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

After the success of the first edition of the Japanese Playwrights Project (JPP) in 2007 once again the Segal Center brings some of the brightest, most innovative, and most engaging emerging playwrights from Japan to New York to develop their pieces through translation into English and public readings of the work. The Japan Playwrights Project plays an important role in introducing contemporary writing and dramaturgy from Japan to the US.

In 2018, the Japanese Playwrights Project is proud to present:

A Question of Faeries by Satoko Ichihara
Favonia’s Fruitless Fable by Satoko Ichihara
Isla, Isla, Isla! by Yudai Kamisato
Avidya – Hot Spring Junkies in Hell Valley by Kuro Tanino
Sokonaizu by Jun Tsutsui

The Japanese Playwrights Project 2018 was made possible by the generous support of the Japan Foundation, New York (Koji Nozaki, Sanae Tani, and Kenji Matsumoto). Additional support for English translations by the Japan Playwrights Association. The Japanese Playwrights Project 2018 was initiated and realized by Frank Hentschker and Aya Ogawa.

Board of Advisors – Japan: Peter Eckersall, Shintaro Fujii, Kako Kishimoto, Hiromi Maruoka, Aya Ogawa, Toshiki Okada, and Masahiko Yokobori.
Board of Advisors – New York: Peter Eckersall, Anne Erbe, Frank Hentschker, Andrew Kircher, Kate Loewald, Aya Ogawa, and Yoko Shioya.

Participants of the 2007 JPP included Masataka Matsuda, Akio Miyazawa, Toshiki Okada, and Mikuni Yanaihara. Josh Fox/International WOW Company; Dan Safer/Witness Relocation, Jay Scheib, and The Play Company each presented successful productions in New York theatres.




Monday, November 12 (Click here for Day 2 Schedule)

2:00pm Favonia’s Fruitless Fable (毛美子不毛話)
written by Satoko Ichihara
directed by Kristine Haruna Lee
translated by Aya Ogawa

“Me” is a female office worker who, obsessed with a strange rumor, comes wandering through a back alley night after night in search of real leather pumps. In the back alley she has a series of encounters with a variety of questionable characters: a distorted version of a male office worker who is a superior at her company, another “Me,” a middle-aged man who has a huge cock growing out of the middle of his chest, and a shifty salesman. A two-person play (1M, 1F) portraying life in the chaos of contemporary society. Nominated for the 61st Kunio Kishida Prize for Drama.

5:00pm Sokonaizu (ソコナイ図)
written by Jun Tsutsui
directed by Soraya Broukhim
translated by Tomoyuki Arai

It isn’t clear whether it’s the end of the year or the beginning of the year. Two women are lying still in a room. No one knows the size of it. They are sisters. The younger speaks, but with a voice in her mind, her mouth isn’t actually voicing a sound. She may find her older sister dead, so she’s afraid to speak to her and she is also afraid of realizing that she herself can’t possibly utter a word, which would mean she is dead. An official of the city where the sisters live has noticed their accident, but he doesn’t make an effort to help. The older sister dies and speaks to say that her life was very poor because of the enormous inheritance tax caused by the land left by their parents. Their parents had passed away suddenly. The younger sister only remains, still in her room without knowing whether she has seen the old year out or not and whether she is dead or not.

7:00pm Avidya – Hot Spring Junkies in Hell Valley
written by Kuro Tanino
directed by Mallory Catlett
translated by Mari Boyd

The play is set in an old hot spring inn, located deep in the mountains of Japan. The health spa has long been cherished by the local villagers as a place to rest and cure them of their ailments. However, it is fated to be torn down to make way for a new railroad. One day in 2015, as the autumn prepares to change into winter, a rather peculiar father and son arrive from Tokyo. They are puppeteers who have come to put on a show at the request of the inn-owner. The father is a dwarf while his son is a rather eerie, expressionless figure who always seems to be wearing a mask. With their client nowhere in sight, the father and son wait in vain at the inn. As evening comes and their means of returning home is lost, they are forced to spend the night. While the villagers are puzzled by the sudden visit of this eccentric father and son, they are also intrigued. In time, the villagers find the depths of their minds shaken, exposing their inner darkness.

About the Playwrights

Satoko Ichihara is playwright, director, and novelist. Born in 1988, she studied theater at J.F. Oberlin University. Ichihara narrates the absurdity of life and the vitality of humans who shine in the rankling world from the perspective of women, delivered mainly through monologues. While setting great value on the bodies of performers, she also emphasizes the expression of texts and their rhythms. Her works are carefully built as if from an outside perspective into the behaviors of humans and animals. She aims to immerse the audience in the vibrancy and the bounding pulse of life. In 2011, Satoko received the Aichi Arts Foundation Drama Award with the play Insects. In 2013, she was selected to stage Qlobe of Life Ⅱ as part of the Festival/Tokyo. In 2016, the novel Insects was released in the literary journal Subaru. In 2017, she was a finalist for 61st Kishida Kunio Playwriting award for Favonia’s Fruitless Fable and was invited to present Favonia’s Fruitless Fable at the Seoul Marginal Theater Festival. In 2018 Satoko became a Saison Foundation Junior Fellow Artist. qqq-qqq-qqq.com


Photo courtesy of the artist

Kuro Tanino, a playwright and director, was born in 1976 in Toyama Prefecture. Kuro Tanino is the artistic director of Niwa Gekidan Penino as well as resident playwright and director. He is a Saison Foundation Senior Fellow. After launching Niwa Gekidan Penino while still a medical student in 2000, he has since written and directed all the company’s plays. He was nominated for the prestigious Kishida Kunio Drama Award in 2007 and 2008, and has received invitations to festivals around the world. He premiered Käfig aus Wasser in March 2015 in Germany, while Avidya: No Lights Inn won the Kishida Kunio Drama Award in 2016.



Photo courtesy of the artist

Jun Tsutsui, born in Osaka in 1971, is a director, playwright and performer who leads dracom, an Osaka-based performance group. He received his MA at Osaka University of Arts in 1997, the Kyoto Art Center Performing Arts Award for his direction of dracom’s Moreuta in 2007 and The Saison Foundation’s Senior Fellow scholarship for 2014–2016. With dracom he has participated in such events as the International Showcase of Tokyo Performing Arts Market 2008, Emerging Artists Program of Festival/Tokyo 2010, Sound Live Tokyo 2014 in collaboration with Small Wooden Shoe (Toronto) and Nippon Performance Night 2017 at FFT (Düsseldorf). He has worked with such artists/groups as Akio Suzuki, Zan Yamashita, Noriyuki Kiguchi, Masataka Matsuda, Ishinha, Toenkai and Takatsuki Senior Theatre Company formed by amateur performers all older than 50, as well as on dance projects with Kyoto University of Art & Design and Dance Box (Kobe). He has been running a small space OPA_Lab in Settsu City, Osaka, where he regularly presents experimental productions including Rough Play, where performers collectively learn a full-length classical or contemporary play in a day and perform it relying only on their uncertain and unorganized memory.


About the Directors

Mallory Catlett is a creator and director of performance across disciplines from opera and music theater to plays and installation art. She is the founder of Restless NYC whose Obie Award winning production, This Was The End, was recently remounted at Mabou Mines. Work outside of Restless includes: visual artist Nene Humphrey’s Transmissions (2017) at Leslie Heller Gallery and Mika Karlsson’s opera The Echo Drift (Prototype Festival 2018). She is a member of the multi-disciplinary artist led performance venue The Collapsable Hole. In NYC her work has premiered at 3LD, HERE, PS122, Abrons, Chocolate Factory; featured at COIL, Prototype and BAM’s Next Wave; and toured internationally to Canada, France, UK, Ireland & Australia. She is a Foundation of Contemporary Arts 2015 Awardee and a 2016 Creative Capital Artist. She is an Assistant Professor in Theatre Arts at Stony Brook University.


Photo courtesy of the artist

Kristine Haruna Lee is a theater maker whose work navigates non-linear playwriting, the practice and performance of auto-theory, and the construction of visually rich performance landscapes with her company harunalee, hailed by the New York Times as “So full of impulses and splendid, fractious energy”. Recent plays with harunalee include Memory Retrograde (The Public’s Under The Radar Festival), to the left of the pantry and under the sugar shack (La MaMa Club), and War Lesbian (Dixon Place TONY LGBT Critic’s Pick). Her play Suicide Forest directed by Aya Ogawa will premiere at the Bushwick Starr in February 2019. She’s a recipient of the MAP Fund Award, the Lotos Foundation Prize for Directing, New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship, and has been a member of Interstate 73, The Public’s Devised Theater Working Group, Ars Nova Maker’s Lab, and BAX AIR. She is an affiliated artist with New Georges and currently in the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. MFA Brooklyn College for Playwriting with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney, BFA NYU Tisch Experimental Theater Wing.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Soraya Broukhim is a multidisciplinary artist, an actor, a director, a poet, a teacher & Ayurvedic healer. She has collaborated in creating new devised projects with The Living Theatre beside Judith Malina and core-members since 2010, with A Laboratory for Actor Training e.t.c. beside director Vernice Miller, Ripe Time, Williamstown Theatre Festival, O’Neill Playwright Conference, Drama League, Tofte Lake Center & National Theatre Institute. She is an Artistic Associate at the Living Theatre. And Development-Marketing Director at A.L.A.T. etc. Ms. Broukhim is also currently an adjunct professor at Fordham University Lincoln Center teaching majors Devised-Collaboration Theatre. She graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, BAADA, NTI & St.Petersburg Arts Theatre Academy. For acting credits please go to www.sorayabroukhim.com

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