$3,431
pledged of 3.000 $pledged of 3.000 $ goal
97
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, February 1 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

$3,431
pledged of 3.000 $pledged of 3.000 $ goal
97
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, February 1 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

About

**We're S T R E T C H I IIIIIN'! Thank you to all our wonderful backers who have helped us reach our original goal! Check out our update video here (or click on the update section) to get a set design sneak peek. 

Our set, designed by the immeasurable Jian Jung, demands a pretty build and our costumes, designed by the fathomless Alice Tavener, involves up to FIFTEEN looks and speciality costumes requiring some handmade love. Reaching for our stretch goal of $5000 will allow us to tend to all the little details to bring this visually stunning world alive and make room for additional labor and materials to support the team. Thank you for any additional support you can give!**

Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play written by Kristine Haruna Lee and directed by Aya Ogawa premiering in February 2019 in New York City. Set in 1990s Japan, a teenage girl is coming of age and grappling with her sexuality in a heavily toxic, male-defined society, while a ‘salaryman’, the popular name for the Japanese businessman, is desperately clawing for self-worth in a shame-based corporate environment.   

Kristine Haruna Lee (Left) and Keizo Kaji (Right) at Studio Visit at our 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by Maria Baranova
Kristine Haruna Lee (Left) and Keizo Kaji (Right) at Studio Visit at our 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by Maria Baranova

In this humorous and dark lens into Japan’s underbelly culture, co-workers partake in demonic prank shows, elder women eternally dressed like Harajuku Lolita girls prance about, while a shinigami (deity of death) named Mad Mad haunts the entire play and a clan of sweet goats traverse the forest landscape. When the journeys of the Salaryman and teenage girl collide, their emotional and psychic struggles are utterly exposed as the infamous suicide forest looms over their imagination. 

Suicide Forest is presented by Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater.

WHY OUR WORK MATTERS  

Photo by sasha arutyunova
Photo by sasha arutyunova

Suicide Forest centers a femme Asian-diasporic perspective and in doing so, pushes against the idea of a monolithic identity, humanizes stereotypes, and challenges the erasure of complex PoC experiences often agitated by dominant narratives in the United States. We are excited to have an entirely Japanese-heritage cast on stage to activate this story, and to build the show and lead with a predominantly Asian and womxn-led creative team. 

SUICIDE FOREST CAST | Top Row (L-R): Akiko Aizawa, Yuki Kawahisa, Keizo Kaji | Bottom Row (L-R): Aoi Lee, Kristine Haruna Lee, Eddy Toru Ohno, and Dawn Akemi Saito
SUICIDE FOREST CAST | Top Row (L-R): Akiko Aizawa, Yuki Kawahisa, Keizo Kaji | Bottom Row (L-R): Aoi Lee, Kristine Haruna Lee, Eddy Toru Ohno, and Dawn Akemi Saito
CREATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM | Top Row (L&R): Kristine Haruna Lee (Playwright), Aya Ogawa (Director), Jian Jung (Scenic Design), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Lighting & Video Design), Fan Zhang (Sound Design), Jen Goma (Music Composition) | Bottom Row (L-R): Alice Tavener (Costume Design), Mariko Takizawa (Production Stage Manager), Kiyo Kamisawa (Assistant Director), Patrick Murphy (Production Manager), John Del Gaudio & Denise Shu-Mei (Co-Producers).
CREATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM | Top Row (L&R): Kristine Haruna Lee (Playwright), Aya Ogawa (Director), Jian Jung (Scenic Design), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Lighting & Video Design), Fan Zhang (Sound Design), Jen Goma (Music Composition) | Bottom Row (L-R): Alice Tavener (Costume Design), Mariko Takizawa (Production Stage Manager), Kiyo Kamisawa (Assistant Director), Patrick Murphy (Production Manager), John Del Gaudio & Denise Shu-Mei (Co-Producers).

As Aya describes it, Suicide Forest is like “looking into Kristine’s uterus and then turning it inside out.” It is a play that is undeniably personal. And also undeniably resonant––with the transcultural experience, the immigrant experience, the grip of patriarchal constructs, the echoes of intergenerational trauma. In many ways, the play asks you, the audience member, to be as alert as the performer. Sorry, not sorry? Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to get up on stage. We do encourage you to meet us in conversation and in relationship with these layers of ideas and experiences with us… and if you do, we will definitely deliver on some big ideas and fresh perspectives to chew on, as well as some raucous fun times!

To see what we’ve been already up to, follow us on instagram @suicideforestplay

OUR PROCESS/VALUES

We center Asian-diasporic and womxn-identifying experiences and perspectives. It is no accident that this production team is womxn-led and our entire cast is of Japanese-heritage. We use this lens to approach discussion and our making together. Within our engagement series, our first gathering in September 2018 brought together Asian Womxn/Trans/Femme/NB-identifying Performancemakers towards investigating and supporting these experiences and perspectives.

We work collaboratively. This manifests as holding space to listen, question, pause, push, pull, and arrive at an understanding together. From script revisions to design meetings/email exchanges to finagling production budgets, we are committed to moving together while honoring different ways of working. 

We seek to be in-relationship with one another.Simply put, we care for one another as individual human beings and value community building on a broader coalition perspective. For example, our accompanying engagement series is rooted in relationship-building and sought community partners La MaMa E.T.C. and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange to support gatherings that seek to develop meaningful relationships that can be taken out of the room. In addition, as a production presented by Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater, we hope to facilitate opportunities for more partnerships that will center Asian/American voices within the field. 

Studio Visit at 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by sasha arutyunova
Studio Visit at 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by sasha arutyunova

To date, we have raised 95% of the budget and we need help in this final stretch to close the gap and raise $3,000 to execute the full design for the premiere! 

Early ideas in the creative room (set model by Jian Jung)
Early ideas in the creative room (set model by Jian Jung)

Suicide Forest has seen several workshop periods and readings over the past two years and our amazing design & production team has been working collaboratively and responsively, and visioning forward this world of Suicide Forest. We are committed to honoring the history, heritage, relationships, voices, and perspectives of our collaborators… and to give ya’ll a damn good show to come see!!%^&* 

(L-R)Sonoko Kawahara, Kristine Haruna Lee, Dawn Akemi Saito at our Studio Visit at 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by Maria Baranova
(L-R)Sonoko Kawahara, Kristine Haruna Lee, Dawn Akemi Saito at our Studio Visit at 2018 Prelude Festival | Photo by Maria Baranova

Main Image Credit: sasha arutyunova 

Campaign Video Editor: Andrew Butler

Tickets go live Jan. 22, 2019. Reserve your seats early by donating at 'Early Bird Ticket' reward tier and above and we got you!!! 

Risks and challenges

There are always challenges associated with producing any live performance. As a self-assembled group of performancemakers working within a limited scale, there are a lot of moving parts that are a part of the process. However, we believe that with your support, the vision for this play can be fully realized and with sparkles to boot. Please help us meet our finishing funds and step through the looking glass with us!

皆さまの温かいご支援とご協力よろしくお願いします!

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    Love + Brain Food

    THANK YOU delivered via Instastory + curated reading list as an offering to approach Suicide Forest

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    A bleating good time!

    Love + Brain Food + a clan of goats will bleat your name at Mt Fuji

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    Dance Dance Drink Drink

    Demon Mad-Mad will dance in your honor in the next full moon + Super Secret Code to get a complimentary drink at the bar when you come see the show

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    Party On

    Invitation to join us for our Opening Night Party on March 1st (note that you must still purchase tickets to see the show!) AND receive the Super Secret Code for a complimentary drink at the Bar when you come see the show

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    Early Bird Ticket

    To be early and wise! ONE general admission ticket to a show date of your choosing (that is, between Feb 27 - Mar 16, Wed-Sat @ 8pm)

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    Reserved Just 4 You

    We got you! TWO reserved seats to a show date of your choice.

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    Play Swag Bag

    TWO reserved seats AND a SUICIDE FOREST Swag Bag which includes: 8x10 print of the official Suicide Forest photo taken by sasha arutyunova, 8x10 print of JP Kim's goat illustration (used for our engagement series), and a signed copy of SUICIDE FOREST publication by 53rd StatePress

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    Through the looking glass: meet-n-greet

    Backstage meet-n-greet + post-show toast with the cast, TWO reserved seats to the show date of your choice, AND the SUICIDE FOREST Swag Bag which includes exclusive prints from sasha arutyunova and JP Kim as well as a signed publication of the play by 53rd State Press.

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