Tag Archives: One Hour Photo

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

Nicole Alivojvodic Reviews Kuroko On Now At The Cultch Until November 17

12 Nov

kurukoVancouver Asian Canadian Theatre presented the world premiere of Tetsuro Shigematsu’s Kuroko on November 7th at The Cultch. The acclaimed creator of behind Empire of the Son and 1 Hour Photo, Shigematsu says this was his biggest challenge to date. Kuroko is not a solo show and Shigematsu is not personally taking the stage, as he usually does. This time he’s only the playwright and he’s telling one of his most personal stories yet – a dark comedy that earned a standing ovation from a captivated audience on opening night.

The story is of a man, Hiroshi, who has lost his job and worries about how he’s going to provide for his family. In particular, Hiroshi struggles to find a way to help his daughter Maya, who is an extreme recluse and has spent the last six years in her bedroom exploring virtual reality. The play explores human relationships and how they’re affected by our increasingly digital world. It also delves into the idea of sacrifice, bringing to light the different cultural and moral attitudes towards the topic in Japan and Canada. Shigematsu provides an interesting commentary on the intersection of these cultures as well as making a loud statement about family and how to truly take care of one another.

Kuroko is so popular that the first week is already sold out. An extra performance has been added on November 16th – get your tickets before they’re gone. Visit The Cultch for online purchase.

By Contributing Writer Nicole Alivojvodic

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