The raw emo­tion be­hind in­tern­ment

Artist brings an im­por­tant pro­duc­tion back to the stage

StarMetro Calgary - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Aaron chatha Metro | Cal­gary

In grade school, the Ja­panese in­tern­ment camps of the Sec­ond World War were mere foot­notes in Cana­dian text­books.

“I had kids in my class ask me, ‘You’re Ja­panese, did you know about this?’ No. I had no idea,” re­called Cal­gary ac­tor and play­wright Mark Ikeda.

Year’s later, af­ter train­ing with One Yel­low Rab­bit and serv­ing as artis­tic direc­tor for MoMo Dance Theatre, Ikeda re­turned to the world of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions to cre­ate San­sei: The Sto­ry­teller.

It reimag­ines the Ja­panese in­tern­ment through Ikeda’s eyes, us­ing hu­mour and move­ment to tell the story of one of Canada’s dark­est de­ci­sions.

It’s a world he’s learned a lot more about in his adult life.

“If the Ja­panese in­tern­ment didn’t hap­pen in Canada, I wouldn’t be alive,” he said.

The piece was orig­i­nally brought to the stage in 2015, and although the bones are still in place, it’s been steadily re­fined into the cre­ation we see to­day. Ikeda’s comedic tim­ing has been honed and the move­ment is very fine-tuned.

If the Ja­panese in­tern­ment didn’t hap­pen in canada, I wouldn’t be alive. Play­wright Mark Ikeda

On stage, Ikeda presents three main story threads from the era. He uses text and spo­ken-word po­etry to get his point across, but when the emo­tions over­whelm him and words just don’t cut it any­more, he ex­presses him­self through move­ment and dance.

“It’s a re­ally vi­tal idea that in a lot of our pasts there have been mo­ments of hate, anger and ag­gres­sion,” he ex­plained. “This, for me, was a great way to look at that for my­self and for my per­sonal his­tory. To see the world and my community through a dif­fer­ent lens. Although there have been mo­ments of hate and ag­gres­sion, that doesn’t need to colour the way I see the world.”

He hopes au­di­ences will leave with a sim­i­lar viewpoint. Not only will they learn about an im­por­tant part of Cana­dian his­tory, but he also hopes they will re­al­ize that th­ese dark mo­ments don’t have to end in hate, but in to­geth­er­ness within the community.

San­sei will be per­formed at Arts Com­mons Mo­tel Theatre from Nov. 1 to 4. Visit cloudsway. ca for more in­for­ma­tion.

Courtesy ICandyfIlMs

san­sei digs into cal­gary artist Mark Ikeda’s roots.

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