Updated: Jan 6, 2019
New York is a fascinating place with fascinating people.
One of the most amazing experiences I had in New York came when I was preparing for my first run in New York last year.
I was wondering how I would explain the Japanese aesthetic to a set designer in New York. Set designers are amazing people, amazing artists. They can study the aesthetic from any culture and get it amazingly right. However, there are subtleties of Japanese design which can easily be lost, and I have found that many designs end up leaning towards a pan-asian taste, Japanese mixed with Chinese and Thai aesthetics (no problem if on purpose - I like fusion food as much as anyone - but if its not on purpose it can be unfortunate.
The answer was simpler than I thought.
I was introduced to Mikiko Suzuki, Japanese by nationality, graduate of Yale University in theater design, Broadway career and two Tony awards as associate designer already to her credit. I will feature her in a future post!
In the end my set-designer, lighting designer, sound designer, stage manager, and production manager were all Japanese, and all working on and off-Broadway. New York is amazing that way. I was concerned that when we run the show for weeks as we plan to starting in April, I would have to send my silk kimonos back to Japan to get properly cleaned. There is no way there are kimono cleaners in New York. My friend Yoko who has live here for years said, “You’re right, there isn’t one Japanese kimono cleaner in New York - there are two…!”
So come April when we start Rakugo off-Broadway the only person on the artistic and production staff who won’t be Japanese will be ME! THE PERFORMER! LOL
In the coming weeks I will do some introductions to my wonderful New York Team Sunshine!
Something to look forward to!