As if there’s not enough activity around Factory in early May with CrossCurrents, the theatre’s scheduled its second Performance Spring Festival.
And what better to lead with than sex? Or more specifically, The Sexual Practices Of The Japanese, presented by Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement.
Interweaving stories that involve Japanese cultural stereotypes, the collectively written piece looks at love hotels, baseball heroes and office affairs.
“I was originally interested in looking at stereotypes from my own background, ideas I’ve never seen on a Canadian stage,” recalls co-creator Maiko Bae Yamamoto, who performs in the show and directs with c0-writer James Long.
“Instead of focusing on Japanese Canadians, two of the other collaborators – Manami Hara and Hiro Kanagawa – helped me bring the world of Japan to life.”
They each took charge of one story. Yamamoto’s, based on a personal experience, deals with a 15-year-old who’s groped on a train.
The production relies on movement and visuals as well as text to tell the stories, which are linked by a trio of lonely office workers.
“We like collaborating with artists from different backgrounds, all of whom are in the room giving input to the creative process. I guess James and I work with people we have theatrical crushes on.”
You might have seen the company during Free Fall in March, when they presented Clark And I Somewhere In Connecticut.
“In Sexual Practices, we discovered that the finished show offers a surprising commentary on Japanese feminism,” says Yamamoto. “The image most Westerners have of the objectified and subservient Japanese woman simply isn’t true. Women have a new sense of empowerment. We take the stereotype, break through it and tell the story behind the image.”
Later in the Performance Spring series, look for Yann Martel’s The Facts Behind The Helsinki Roccamatios, Winnipeg performance artist David King and late-night evenings with musical group the Elastocitizens, Newfoundland comic Jonny Harris and Tony Nardi’s …And Counting. (See review, page 85.)
See Opening (this page) and www.factorytheatre.ca.