PlayCo Presents the US Premiere of Toshiki Okada's 'THE SONIC LIFE OF A GIANT TORTOISE', Now thru 6/29
The Play Company (PlayCo), led by Founding Producer Kate Loewald and Executive Producer Lauren Weigel, is unique in its commitment to producing plays from around the world, including the U.S., to advance a dynamic, international experience of contemporary theater as part of the American repertoire. They conclude their 2013-14 season with the U.S. premiere of The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise: youth is not the only thing that's sonic, which reunites them with award-winning Japanese writer Toshiki Okada, director Dan Rothenberg (Pig Iron), and translator Aya Ogawa, following their collaboration on Okada's critically lauded Enjoy in 2010. The new production will run today, May 24 - June 29 at Jack in Brooklyn.
Performances will take place May 24 & 26, 28-31 June 1 2, 4-7, 9, 11-14, 16, 18-21, 23 and 25-28 at 7.30pm, and May 25, June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 4pm. Critics are welcome as of May 30 for an official opening on June 2. The running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Idea Lab Artists in Conversation events will take place June 4, 11, 18 & 25 immediately following the performances. In addition, PlayCo will host a public conversation with Okada following the performance on Sunday June 22. Tickets, which are $25-35, Students $10-$15, are available online at playco.org and by phone at 866 811 4111. Jack is located at 505 ½ Waverly Avenue, between Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY.
The cast features Rachel Christopher (The Faire, Fault Line Theatre),Susannah Flood (Love and Information, New York Theater Workshop and Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play, Playwright Horizons), Dan Kublick (ArtParty, co-founder of DDT,), Jason Quarles (Hoi Polloi), Moses Villarama (Fast Company, EST/Ma Yi). The creative team includes Mimi Lien (set designer) Jon Carter (costume designer) Jiyoun Chang (lighting designer) Mikhail Fiksel (sound designer) and David Brick (choreographer).
Okada's idiosyncratic exploration of alienation and unease within the rising generation in Japan has made him one of his country's most sought-after writers. Whereas Enjoy explored the plight of young workers trying to live with economic and social uncertainty, in The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise he probes the everyday lives of 30-something professionals who enjoy good jobs and relationships. Everything seems perfect, but a surreal abyss yawns beneath the surface. The play is a funny and heart-breaking account of the harrowing undercurrent in our contemporary life.
About the Artists
Toshiki Okada (writer/director) was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1973. Since forming the theater company chelfitsch in 1997, he has written and directed all of the company's work, including Five Days in March (winner of the 2005 Kunio Kishida Drama Award); Enjoy (commissioned and produced by the New National Theatre in Toyko); Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech; The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise; and Current Location and chelfitsch's most recent Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich, performances of which are scheduled at Theater der Welt and Hebbel am Ufer in Germany, Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon, Portugal, the 2014 LIFT Festival in London, UK and Festival delle Torinesi in Turin, Italy this coming May and June 2014. His work has been presented in Asia, Europe, and the United States, at venues including Nam June Paik Art Center (Seoul), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), National Museum of Art (Osaka), and Mori Art Museum (Tokyo) and in festivals such as Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Festival d'Automne (Paris), KunstenFestivaldesArts (Brussels), and Under the Radar (Los Angeles and New York). His play, Zero Cost House created in collaboration with Pig Iron Theatre Company featured in the 2012 Philly Live Arts Festival and the 2013 New York Under the Radar Festival.
Dan Rothenberg (Director)is a founding member and co-artistic director of Pig Iron Theatre Company. He has directed almost all of Pig Iron's original performance works, including Poet in New York, Gentlemen Volunteers, Isabella, The Lucia Joyce Cabaret, and the OBIE Award-winning productions Hell Meets Henry Halfway and Chekhov Lizardbrain. In 2001, Rothenbergco-directed Shut Eye with Joseph Chaikin. Earlier this year, he directed Pig Iron's Twelfth Night at FringeArts Philadelphia and Abrons Art Center. For PlayCo, Rothenbergdirected the English-language premiere of Okada's Enjoy; subsequently Okada collaborated with Pig Iron to create the autobiographical Zero Cost House (Under the Radar, TPAM Yokohama, Philadelphia Fringe Fest). Rothenbergteaches physical approaches to performance at Pig Iron's School for Advanced Performance Training. Awards include the Pew Fellowship in Performance Art (2002) and the USA Knight Fellowship (2010).
Aya Ogawa (translator) is a Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based writer, director, and translator for the theater. Known as one of the most prominent Japanese-to-English translators of contemporary Japanese drama, she has a long relationship with such artists as Okada, Hiroshi Koike of Pappa Tarahumara and Yoji Sakate of Rinkogun, among others. Her acclaimed translations have been produced in the U.S. and London, and published by Samuel French and various university publications and journals. Time Out called her translation of Okada's Enjoy (Play Company at 59E59, 2010; published by Samuel French) an "effortless, idiomatic translation"; The Village Voice hailed her translation of Okada's Five Days in March (Witness Relocation at LaMama, 2010) as "a miracle of transposed idiom." Most recently her translation of Okada's Zero Cost House was presented at Philly Live Arts 2012, Under the Radar Festival 2013 and in Yokohama, Japan. She is the founder of performance company Knife, inc.
About The Play Company (PlayCo): The Play Company is an OBIE Award-winning Off Broadway theater production company. Now in its fourteenth season, PlayCo has produced 25 new plays from the United States, Germany, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Japan, India, Russia, Mexico, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. PlayCo develops and produces adventurous new plays from the U.S. and around the world, advancing a dynamic global experience of contemporary theater and expanding the American theater repertoire.
As the only New York company regularly producing outstanding contemporary plays from around the world alongside new American work, PlayCo's distinctive international programming links American theatre with world theater, American artists with the global creative community, and American audiences with a whole world of plays.