A new production of Hikobae, a play about the medical staff who risked their lives following the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 will premiere in Los Angeles on March 30th & 31st and New York on April 5th & 6th. Hikobae honors the first responders and those who lost their lives in the disaster. The significance of remembering the victims and sacrifices of the first responders is particularly relevant two years following the events of 3/11.
Hikobae is a fictionalized story based on recorded interviews with physicians and nurses from Soma City Hospital, a medical center in the Fukushima evacuation zone. The play is part of an ongoing international collaboration between New York's Stella Adler Studio of Acting and The Actors Clinic, a prominent acting school in Tokyo led by Toshi Shioya. Graduates from both acting schools are participating in the production.
"In our interviews with Fukushima first responders, we realized that these two experiences were inextricably linked," said Toshi Shioya of Japan's The Actors Clinic. "We collaborated with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting to honor these heroes and created an American character in the play to echo the first responders of 9/11."
The heroism and response to the 3/11 crisis has a special resonance with New Yorkers. Lee Ielpi, who lost his firefighter son on 9/11 and then became president of the September 11 Families Association and the co-founder of the Tribute WTC Visitors Center, will participate in a press conference in New York on April 5th and attend the play that evening. Mr. Ielpi has generously allowed the image of his son's FDNY jacket to be portrayed next to a Japanese firefighter's jacket in the play's poster in order to reinforce the theme of universal humanity and bravery.
"The world today cries out for compassionate artists to give voice to the disenfranchised" said Tom Oppenheim, the Artistic Director of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. "Toshi Shioya is such an artist and the Hikobae Project will do just that for the people of Soma City and the Fukushima prefecture in Japan."
"While discussing with Tom what kind of first projects to do with The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, eastern Japan was struck by an unprecedented earthquake," Shioya said. "Two weeks after the disaster, Soma City Mayor Hidekiyo Tachiya requested that we film the endless struggle in the city. The explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant happened two days after. Tom Oppenheim suggested a theatrical play commemorating the earthquake as our premiere production."
Proceeds from the production will benefit the Momo-Kaki Orphan Fund, which supports children who lost their parents in the disaster. The theater piece will be performed in English and Japanese, with subtitles projected behind the actors.
Stella Adler Studio of Acting is one of the world's most famous acting institutions. The nonprofit acting school has trained actors such as Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Elaine Stritch, Benicio del Toro, and Salma Hayek. Stella Adler Studio also has partnerships in India, the Philippines and Mexico.
Saturday, March 30th at 6:30PM and
Sunday, March 31st at 2:00PM
Aratani/Japan America Theatre at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
244 South San Pedro Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
For tickets call (213) 628-2725 or visit www.jaccc.org.
New York City
Friday, April 5th at 7:00PM and
Saturday, April 6th at 3:00PM
Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers St., NYC 10007
For tickets call (212) 868-4444 or visit www.smarttix.com. For group sales information in English, please contact Steve White at email@example.com or call 212 689 0087 x41.