CoHo Productions to Present ENJOY By Toshiki Okada
CoHo Productions will present Enjoy, by Toshiki Okada with English translation by Aya Ogawa, co-produced and directed at the CoHo Theatre by Michael Griggs.
Enjoy opens on January 17, 2014 as CoHo's second production of the 2013-2014 season. The show will run for four weeks, through February 8, 2014. This will be the West Coast premiere of Enjoy.
In a Japanese manga café, nine underemployed "freeters" (part-time or temp workers) share their stories of break-ups, hook-ups, smelly free-loading customers, 30th birthday-induced terror, present depressions, past failures and future panics. This is the cry of Japan's Lost Decade Generation-those with the misfortune to have graduated while the economy crashed. A member of this generation himself, Okada captures the hyper-colloquial, chronically self-reflective language, and Ogawa translates into pitch-perfect absurdist hipster poetry.
Director and co-producer Michael Griggs says, "After directing a reading of Enjoy in 2012, I immediately fell in love with Okada's language, his sense of humor, his stretching of theatrical form, and the resonance of the issues the play raises. For me, Okada's portrayal of Japan's "Lost Decade Generation" speaks to the situation now faced by many young Americans-college graduates stuck in part-time or temporary jobs, deeply in debt, and facing uncertain futures."
Toshiki Okada founded Japan's internationally acclaimed chelfitsch theatre company in 1997, and writes and directs all productions. A Lost Decade generation member, he authored Enjoy at age 33, which premiered in Japan in 2006. It was produced in 2010 in NYC by The Play Company using American playwright Aya Ogawa's highly regarded translation. Okada and chelfitsch visited Portland for PICA's TBA:12 festival.
Dialogue and movement are approached unconventionally in Okada's works. In Enjoy, he provides no stage direction, while both the dialogue and story are guided by elliptical digression, philosophical diatribes, and inarticulate expressions. Okada's language and style reflect the self-reflective discontent of his generation, translating well to the current realities of Millennials and boomerang children in the post-recession U.S.
Co-producer and director Michael Griggs has been active in theatre for almost 50 years as an actor, director, and producer. His local credits include productions at hand2mouth theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland State University, the New Rose Theatre, Portland Actors Conservatory, Lewis & Clark College, and CoHo Productions. Griggs presented nearly a dozen Japanese Contemporary Theatre and dance productions at the Portland International Performance Festival, where he served as the Producing Artistic Director for 11 years.
To Enjoy, Griggs brings his extensive knowledge of Japanese theatre and culture. He studied Japanese theatre and drama at Portland State University, and traveled to Japan to study theatre under a grant from the Asian Cultural Council in 1993. He has seen the chelfitsch company perform, and taken a workshop with Toshiki Okada.
Heath Hyun Houghton: Actor 1, Kato
Matthew Dieckman: Actor 2, Kawakami
Corey Maier: Actress 1, Ogawa
Matthew Sunderland: Actor 3, Takeuchi
Jim Vadala: Actor 4, Shimizu
Tai Sammons: Actress 2, Maeno's friend, Maeno, Mizuno
Anne Source: Actress 3, Maeno Mizuno
Sean Doran: Actor 5, Mizuno, Atsushi, Maeno, Homeless Man
Brenan Dwyer: Actress 4, Shimizu's girlfriend