Returning by popular demand, following a sold-out run at The Bushwick Starr, Kristine Haruna Lee’s Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity.
In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche. Both are clawing for their self-worth. When their two journeys collide, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame as they now confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.
“A WILD RIDE OF A PRODUCTION.
HEART-STINGINGLY TENDER AND EXPLICITLY PERSONAL.”
Photos by Maria Baranova.
About the Playwright
Kristine is a playwright, director, and performer. She was born in Hong Kong, raised between Tokyo and Seattle, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is one of the founding members of harunalee theater company. Since 2010, her plays and texts have been developed and produced by harunalee: to the left of the pantry and under the sugar shack (La MaMa Club), War Lesbian (Dixon Place Artist Residency and Commission), Strange Worlds in My Mind (York College), Plum de Force (Bushwick Starr Propeller Project Series), Drunkfish Oceanrant (JACK in collab. with Built for Collapse). Her works-in-progress have been presented by Prelude Festival .11+.13, Asian American Writer’s Workshop, 2g, Target Margin Lab Series, Ars Nova Ant Fest, and have been supported by LMCC and the Mental Insight Foundation. She is currently in residence with harunalee at BAX for her upcoming play Dog Gone Day. Other plays include: She’s Sleep, TROIKA, These Robes/Those Robes, and Funeral Plays. She is a recipient of the New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship and is part of The Brooklyn Generator. www.harunalee.com
About the Director
Aya is a Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and translator for the theater. She challenges traditional notions of the American aesthetic and identity by creating plays infused with a multiplicity of perspectives and languages, and by incorporating influences from outside the U.S. – of style, form, and content. She wrote and directed oph3lia at HERE (hailed by The New York Times as “great theater”); Journey to the Ocean, commissioned by The Foundry Theatre; and most recently Ludic Proxy, commissioned by The Play Company, which the NY Theatre Review described as “enchanting and poetic, deeply in tune with the spirit of many different cultures.” She has translated numerous Japanese plays into English, including works by Toshiki Okada, Yudai Kamisato and Satoko Ichihara, among others. Her translations have been described as “fluid and delicious” by American Theatre Magazine, published by Samuel French among others, and produced in the U.S. and U.K. www.ayaogawa.com
- Jian Jung | Scenic Design
- Alice Tavener | Costume Design
- Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew | Lighting & Video Design
- Fan Zhang | Sound Design
- Jen Goma | Original Music