Review: WE WROTE THIS WITH YOU IN MIND at Shaking The Tree

This dream / haunting runs through March 2.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
Review: WE WROTE THIS WITH YOU IN MIND at Shaking The Tree
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Hauntings can take many forms – people, places, memories, ghosts. They can feel like dreams or like nightmares. They can terrify us or bring us comfort. They can be and do all of these things at the same time.

WE WROTE THIS WITH YOU IN MIND, a new play by Ken Yoshikawa, now running at Shaking the Tree, is this kind of haunting. A young poet (played by Kai Hynes) sits in the kitchen of what used to be home, adjacent to what used to be his family’s restaurant. Something terrible has happened to the place, perhaps many terrible things, or perhaps it has just been neglected for far too long. He may or may not be living there.

An old friend (Kayla Hanson) comes by, as she does every day. They share a pot of rice and talk about the past – his difficult relationship with his mother, his inability to write anything he deems worth reading, his nightmares. It’s a strange sort of therapy session. Or perhaps it’s one of those nightmares.

The play, directed by Shaking the Tree’s associate artistic director, Rebby Yuer Foster, is like a dream that exists in that space in between sleeping and waking, where everything simultaneously makes total sense and also no sense at all. 

It’s hard to describe in words something that really must be felt. This play speaks to the part of the brain that processes emotions and memory below the level of consciousness as it wends through the trauma responses of fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. Can you find joy in a space already full of inconsolable grief? Can you ever move past that grief? Are these people even real? My rational brain didn’t always know what was what, but my gut understood everything.

Shaking the Tree consistently challenges its audience to dive deeper, feel more, go somewhere scary. This play does all of these things.

WE WROTE THIS WITH YOU IN MIND runs through March 2. If you’ve been to this theatre before, you know that it tends to sell out, so best to get your tickets as soon as possible. When you go, be sure to arrive early to explore the new gallery space in the lobby, currently featuring several pieces related to the show by Joshua Sin. Details and tickets here.