Performances begin February 25 at A.R.T./New York's Mezzanine Theater for the return engagement of Suicide Forest by Haruna Lee, directed by Aya Ogawa. Originally seen in a critically acclaimed run at the Bushwick Starr last year, Lee's bilingual nightmare play excavates the Japanese-American consciousness and its intimate relationship with sex, suicide, and identity.
Joining Lee in performance are Aoi Lee, along with Ako, Keizo Kaji, Yuki Kawahisa, Eddy Toru Ohno, and Dawn Akemi Saito.
In Suicide Forest, the journeys of a teenage girl and a salary-man collide in 1990s Japan. She is grappling with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society; he is desperate to escape his masochistic psyche. Together, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame and confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination.
The Off-Broadway production, co-presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company and the Starr, is scheduled to play a limited run through March 15.
“I’ve been asked often, ‘How will an American audience understand this bilingual Japanese-themed play?’ I want to offer that there is no doubt that this is an ‘American’ play," says Lee. "Its only mission has been to reflect truthfully my American immigrant experience.”
Suicide Forest features scenic design by Jian Jung, costume design by Alice Tavener, lighting and video design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, sound design by Fan Zhang, Jen and original music by Goma. The production stage manager is Nina Williams-Teramachi.
Opening night will be March 1.