Chiori Miyagawa's I CAME TO LOOK FOR YOU ON TUESDAY Premieres Tonight at LaMama
The Tuesday Project, which explores reunion during times of natural disaster and the aftermath of war, includes street art installations and community participation events across NYC, in addition to Miyagawa's play.
At the time of the Japan earthquake in March 2011, the New York City-based playwright Chiori Miyagawa, whose family was affected by the disaster, saw a photo of an evacuation center wall, covered with handmade messages seeking contact with missing family members and friends. This image moved her, and she began thinking about the concept of reunion, especially following a natural disaster or war. That summer, setting out to create play on the topic, Miyagawa and the director Alice Reagan began holding salons in which artists and others shared their own reunion stories. The results were extraordinary: participants dug deep into their personal histories to tell stories that were intimate, heartbreaking and inspiring.
Based on these meetings and on additional research, Miyagawa wrote I Came to Look for You on Tuesday, which makes its world premiere, directed by Reagan, tonight, September 26 - October 13 at La MaMa's First Floor Theater (74A East 4th Street). Days and times of performances will be announced soon. As of mid-August, tickets, which are $18, will be available at www.lamama.org and 212.475.7710, and in person at La MaMa's main box office (74A East 4th Street).
Through The Tuesday Following-which, together with the play, makes up The Tuesday Project conceived by Miyagawa and Reagan-the salon series continued through this spring, and a guerilla art project is underway. Arresting posters, designed by visual artist James Bayard using lines from the play and quotes from the reunion salon series, are being installed in four different locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, at roughly two-week intervals, all summer. Remaining posting dates are August 12 and August 26. Locations include: 3rd Ave. and 13th St.; Rivington St. and the Bowery; 57th St. and 9th Ave.; and Bedford Ave. and North 7th St. in Williamsburg. Finally, the producers are also tweeting scenes from the play, Tuesdays until opening, from @tuesdayfollowin.
I Came to Look for You on Tuesday is a surprising and mythical story, by turns poignant and humorous, about our need to reconnect. The play follows Maia, aged six to fifty, whose life was saved as a baby by her mother's sacrifice in a tsunami. Reunion with her mother is impossible, and her journey comes to be about emotionally reuniting with her father, who was destroyed by the loss of his wife. Over the course of the play, the audience encounters 20 characters who long to find some aspect of what they have lost in times of natural disaster or war-events that are entirely out of their control, yet change their lives forever. The play is authentic in experience, but not naturalistic. The location is the entire planet, and the people who inhabit it are all of us.
An ensemble of eight actors-Alexis Camins, Ugo Chukwu, Amir Darvish, Rach Holmes, Susan Hyon, McKenna Kerrigan, Meg MacCary and Jens Rasmussen-performs all of these characters. The production features dramaturgy by Emily Morse, set design by Jiyoun Chang, costumes by Anne Kenney, lighting by Solomon Weisbard, and sound design by Elizabeth Rhodes. Ann Marie Dorr and Regina Vorria are Associate Producers.
I Came to Look for You on Tuesday follows Miyagawa's acclaimed 2009 play I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour, which follows two simultaneous love stories: one during WWII in Hiroshima, played out in memory; and another in 1959, in reconstructed Hiroshima, between a tragic French actress and a Japanese architect. A poetic rebuttal to Marguerite Duras's Hiroshima Mon Amour, Miyagawa's play debunks the romantic appropriation of the enormous tragedy and returns the memories to those who actually suffered from atomic bombings. Like I Came to Look for You On Tuesday, that play was part of a larger initiative, called The Hiroshima Project, including talks, documentary screenings, and more. Both plays display Miyagawa's signature: writing with elements of magic realism, in which time is often collapsed, revolving around the theme of memory and identity.