WWSF’s 20th Meetup took us to see Theatre of Yugen’s world-premiere of This Lingering Life, written by New York-based playwright Chiori Miyagawa and directed by Yugen’s Artistic Director Jubilith Moore.
This Lingering Life is a new kind of play that hearkens to tradition while also reaching out from it, and its performance, likewise, will juxtapose traditional and modern dramatic paradigms. It’s an elegant romp across the borders of time, geography, life and death. It’s that kind of a life. And we all live it.
Inspired by nine Japanese Noh plays from the 14th century, This Lingering Lifefeatures 28 charactersin 24 scenes performed by an ensemble of 9 actors of diverseethnicities. There are also several gender-crossing roles in the play: for example, the young warrior is played by a woman, and his mother is played by a male actor.
Japanese-born Miyagawa is making her San Francisco playwriting debut with This Lingering Life, and she has written a distinctly contemporary and Western play with the intensity of the classical Japanese drama at its root. In This Lingering Life,a battle is fought on a shore, a crazy woman looks for her kidnapped son, a father and son have a falling out that results in the son’s becoming blind and homeless, parents conspire to break up their daughter’s relationship by drowning her lover, and a poor old man falls in love with a wealthy young girl and commits suicide. Life goes on with people bumping into one another before and after death and in between. Like life, the play is simultaneously a hilarious comedy and a heartbreaking tragedy.
Check out her essay “Artist, Immigrant: Chiori Miyagawa” on the TCG website.
Mark Russell (Artistic Director, Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater) says “Miyagawa is one of the most poetic writers working in American theater today. Her work is deceptively simple with bracing moments of speech and action, yet with a complex aftertaste of blood.”
Remaining performances of This Lingering Life are on Thursday 6/12 @ 7pm, Friday 6/13 @ 8pm, and Saturday 6/14 @ 8pm. Use discount code “Karma” for a 10% discount on the ticket price here.
If you saw This Lingering Life with the WWSF Meetup group or own you own, please share your thoughts about the show below!