In association with PlayCo (an Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway theater producing adventurous new plays from the US and around the world), Japan Society (founded in 1907, to foster the exchange of ideas between the US and Japan with accessible events of Japanese art and culture) presents the virtual production of Ludic Proxy: Fukushima, written and directed by Tokyo-born Brooklyn-based theater-maker Aya Ogawa. Based on her previous play Ludic Proxy, commissioned by PlayCo and first performed in 2015, the virtual reimagining of the second act of the original work commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.
Set a few years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, the narrative follows a woman named Maho, who functions as the audience’s avatar in a dramatic choose-your-own adventure. While visiting her older sister Maki, living on the outskirts of the Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone, Maho cautiously navigates daily life in their hometown, which takes on added urgency when Maki reveals that she is pregnant. Using video games as a reference, viewers are asked to vote, in real time audience polling, on how Maho progresses through the harrowing set of circumstances, determining outcomes along the way, as the line between actual and virtual reality begins to blur.
The new interactive digital adaptation, exploring human survival in the face of disaster, stars original cast members Saori Tsukada as Maho and Yuki Kawahisa as Maki. The show will be performed in Japanese, with English subtitles, with voiceover by Jackie Katzman, photography direction and lighting by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, editing and technical design by Takaaki Ando, set by Jian Jung, sound by Michael Kiley, costumes by Loren Shaw, and props by Brian Bernhard.
Given the myriad possibilities of plot outcomes as determined by the live audience polling, ticketholders are invited to return for new viewing experiences on different presentation dates. Preceding the premiere on Saturday, March 6, from 8-9 pm, the public is also invited to Together for 3.11 – a free 10th anniversary memorial for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims.
Ludic Proxy: Fukushima livestreams on Saturday, March 6, 9:30 pm; Sunday, March 7, 4:30 pm; and Thursday, March 11, 8 pm, followed by a live Q&A with Ogawa. For tickets (priced at $15/$12 Japan Society members), call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258 (M-F 10 am–6 pm) or go online. Viewers will be able to participate on the date for which they’ve reserved tickets, as well as any subsequent live presentations in the schedule. Additionally, an on–demand version will be available March 12-26, which will incorporate real-time input from the individual viewers (as opposed to the collective audience polling in the three live presentations). For more information, visit the Japan Society website. For a preview by Ogawa, click on the arrow below: