Tag Archives: Canadian History

1 Hour Photo Returns To The Cultch May 28-30, 2021

9 May


As part of an unprecedented virtual tour, Tetsuro Shigematsu’s award-winning play 1 Hour Photo returns to The Cultch in a cinematic adaption May 28 to May 30.

1 Hour Photo is the story of Mas Yamamoto, a man whose life was swept up by the major currents of the 20th century. From growing up in a fishing village on the banks of the Fraser River, to being confined at a Japanese Canadian internment camp during World War II, to helping build the Distant Early Warning Line in the Canadian Arctic during the height of the Cold War. “Mas’ life is a story of resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit,” says playwright, Tetsuro Shigematsu.

In 2017, 75 years after Japanese internment, vAct premiered 1 Hour Photo at The Cultch, to sold out crowds. Mas Yamamoto’s story, gleaned from hours of recorded interviews with Shigematsu over the kitchen table, illuminated a snapshot of Canadian history, which in many ways had gone unrecounted. It resonated with audiences, and went on to win a Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement, while also being short-listed for a Governor General’s Award for Drama. 

Now, almost four years later, 1 Hour Photo is back at another juncture in history where the story is needed more than ever. “Back in 2017, 1 Hour Photo was a highly personal celebration of my friendship with Mas,” says Tetsuro Shigematsu. “But now, with hate crimes against Asians on the rise, this story has become a timely reminder that the best way to fight xenophobia is by feeling the kind of empathy only powerful storytelling can incite.” 

Under the strong leadership of Producing Artistic Director, Donna Yamamoto, vAct made the decision to take this important story on tour in the only way possible. “Our theatre/film hybrid came about when I was trying to figure out a way of filming our touring show, 1 Hour Photo, that had quality, and the feel of a live audience, by bringing them into a conversation with the playwright at the end of each show,” says Yamamoto. By bringing Vancouver based film production company Brightlight Pictures on board, vAct was able to produce a high quality, cinematic adaptation of 1 Hour Photo that could be toured across the country (and to Los Angeles) digitally*. The Cultch is one stop on this one-of-a-kind tour. For tickets, visit The Cultch.

1 Hour Photo is a powerful piece of writing that insists that the complex history of Canada, including the wrongs imposed on groups of people, must be remembered.”
University of Toronto Quarterly

“Wrestling with questions of life and death, 1 Hour Photo is most heartfelt in its exploration of Yamamoto’s life. Ultimately, we are all a little better off for his willingness to share it through Shigematsu.”
Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“1 Hour Photo animates an extraordinary life with vivid props and projections…
the play is a buffet of sensory textures.”

Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

Image Credit: Terry Wong

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives At The Firehall Arts Centre April 2-13, 2019

18 Mar

 

The Firehall Arts Centre brings an eye-opening, award-winning play The Tashme Project: The Living Archives to the Firehall Arts Centre April 2 to April 13, 2019.

Created and performed by Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives traces the history and common experience of the Nisei (second generation Japanese Canadians) through childhood, internment in Canada during the Second World War, and post-war resettlement east of the Rockies. The Nisei, now in their 70s and 80s, were children at the time of internment and their stories of adventure and play are presented in sharp relief with the more common internment narratives of hardship and justice.

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives is created from twenty interwoven interviews with Nisei from Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, Montreal, and Vancouver. The piece moves from voice to voice and story to story with fluidity and with a purposeful and constructed gracefulness. The actors portray the voices of both men and women interviewees as they seek a deep emotional and spiritual connection with the stories of their elders, breathing new life into these memories. This production is an embodiment of Nisei character, language, spirit and story, and brings to light a part of Canadian history that has been often kept in the dark. Tickets start from $25 and are available online at Firehall Arts Centre.

What people are saying about The Tashme Project: The Living Archives:

“…profoundly moving…”
Nikkei Voice

“A remarkable piece of verbatim theatre.”
Broadway World

“…Manning and Miwa…lovingly bring to life the hesitancy and frailty of these ‘living archives’.”
Montreal Gazette

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