Kawasaki Exit sampling preview

November 13th, 2009 by Wil Knoll

No, I’m the Japanese Robert Deniro

One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo is just months away. This is a good thing. This means that it’s closer than it was yesterday. The High Performance Rodeo can be the burning highlight of a sun deprived winter for a theatre patron with stamina. Three whole weeks of good times…

The Rodeo also serves as a premiere for new work that the ensemble puts together. And last weekend, OYR gave us a sampling of Kawasaki Exit, a new work written and directed by Blake Brooker.

The sampling is also a genius method of advertising, gathering feedback, and building community. As Brooker puts it, “instead of buying flyers, we buy beers.” And for Kawasaki Exit, they bought Asashi. Brooker let the audience in on tradition that the performers and creators have used to bless the space and the work, handing out shot sized glasses of Saki to “kampai” the four cardinal points, the memory of the performers, what our successes are, and the things holding us all back. He invited us to enjoy the show, and then to hang around after for sushi and a chat with the creative people involved.

Then the performers took to the barely dressed stage to give us a half hour sample of Kawasaki Exit. Although a work in progress, the cast of Andy Curtis, Denise Clark, and Patrick MacEachern put depth into the Japanese text, with Curtis and Clark particularly building a familiar relationship that hints of a darker design. MacEachern will be known as “the Japanese Robert Deniro” for some time to come, and conveys well the hope and brokenness of his situation.

The cast must be commended for their work with the Japanese language. I don’t believe any of them spoke any Japanese before the beginning of the process, but the delivery is nuanced and toned just right to my ear. The words and the delivery really put me in that held place that Japanese language dramas create sonically and visually for me. Silence is golden but heavy. Plosives bite. A raised voice for two words says more than a loud American in an airport. It sounds right. It feels right.

I’m excited. Not just for Kawasaki Exit, but also for The High Performance Rodeo in general. Going there is a bit of a Kampai to my year. Hopefully, Kawasaki Exit will turn out to be just as toastable.

Kawasaki Exit
Presented by One Yellow Rabbit
Plays in the Big Secret Theatre
January 19 through 23, 2010

One Yellow Rabbit
The High Performance Rodeo

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