The lights dim. Three actors emerge. We see a bright light and hear the sound of shattering glass. The first public presentation of Chiori Miyagawa's new play, I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour, directed by Jean Wagner, has begun.
In April 2008, the ENVISION Lab, in conjunction with Crossing Jamaica Avenue, undertook a staged reading of I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour as part of The Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival. The workshop contained previews of composer Du Yun's original music, and visual artist Hap Tivey's projections. The fabulous Jennifer Tipton was lighting consultant with assistance from Gina Scherr. Christie Carroll elegantly costumed the cast.
In just two weeks of rehearsal, the cast and director focused on character and movement within the first half of the play, and how it related to the text, with actors Joel de la Fuente, Lynn Hawley, and Maureen Sebastian. The audience repsonded well to both staging and reading, connecting it with Miyagawa's elegant language.
I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour also received further development as part of the V&V 2008 ENVISION Retreat.
Two 2007 Retreat projects received further development this spring as part of the ENVISION Lab:
by Elizabeth Hess and Dawn Akemi Saito
Playwright-performers Elizabeth Hess and Dawn Saito reexamined their script, Hole,which grew out of their work, Broken Dolls, a piece on wartime rape and human trafficking. They were joined by director Maria Mileaf and choreographer Christine Sang. Maria's thoughtful questions helped Dawn and Elizabeth to shape their material to their dramatic intentions and develop a stronger script with more specific characters. Christine was a great help in exploring the physicality of the piece, adding "breath," as Dawn put it, and gracefully leading the audience into a horrific world.
IN THE MIDDLE, SOMEWHAT AGGRAVATED
by Sahar Javedani
The ENVISION Lab provided choreographer Sahar Javedani the resources to develop video and commission original music for her dance theatre work, in the Middle, somewhat aggravated. This piece investigates Sahar's personal assimilation of Iranian and American cultures. She has developed a video of images from the Middle East, constructed to reinforce stereotypes and open the audience's eyes to unexptected realities. Susan Oetgen and the band Likeness to Lily are reformulating an Iranian pop song from the 1970's and composing original music featuring classic Persian instruments. Sahar continues to develop the live aspects of the piece as well. Find more information on Sahar's upcoming performances at www.javedani.com, and check out www.likenesstolilymusic.com for great music.