Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Sisters Matsumoto"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark


"Sisters Matsumoto"

by Philip Kan Gotanda
Directed by Sharon Ott

Scenery Design by Kate Edmunds
Lighting Design by Nancy Schertler
Original Music by Dan Kuramoto
Costume Design by Lydia Tanji
Sound Design by Jeff Mockus
Production Stage Manager Tanya Gillette
Assistant Stage Manager Printha K. McCallum

Grace..........................Kim Mayori
Rose........................Sala Iwamatsu
Chiz.............Christine Toy Johnson
Hideo....................Nelson Mashita
Bola.................................Stan Egi
Henry..............................Ryun Yu
Mr. Hersham...........Will Marchetti


A few months after the Pearl Harbor bombing, thousands of Japanese-Americans in the Pacific shore states were given two weeks to settle their affairs, and spent the years of World War Two in concentration-camps far from the ocean. But, as Philip Kan Gotanda's "Sisters Matsumoto" explains, those four years of exile were only the first in a series of insults and tribulations for people, many of them second-generation citizens, who had long faced personal and legal discrimination simply because of their Asian ancestry.

Gotanda's play is a family saga (much like "The Old Settler") that illustrates history through three sisters, and their men, each one of whom has different reactions to their upheaval. The family patriarch who died in captivity had been a successful California farmer, but the family estate and the mansion the sisters return to has been mismanaged, neglected and vandalized in their absence --- like their lives.

The family traditions are kept by Grace (Kim Miyori), who obeyed her father and married not a man she loved, but Hideo (Nelson Mashita), a poor academic. They are ignored by Chiz (Christine Toy Johnson), who married Bola (Stan Egi) a tempestuous Hawaiian because she was pregnant and lusts for assimilation into white America. Young Rose (Sata Iwamatsu) is still unmarried at 27 and interviewing suitors sent by a marriage broker when Henry (Ryun Yu) a young and ambitious farmer, re-enters her life. There is a lot of "back-story" here, and the play is mostly moved by memories.

Kate Edmunds' new set for this Seattle Repertory production melts the walls of the big farmhouse to hint at the fields beyond, and director Sharon Ott moves the action expertly about the central room, giving each character and each confrontation time to shine. The weight of the past is oppressive, and these people need time to decide how to move on --- especially when an old family friend (Will Marchetti) turns out to be a selfish round-eye after all. Gotanda leaves his characters, hopeful, on the brink of tomorrow.

Love,
===Anon.


"Sisters Matsumoto" (till 30 January)
HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
264 Huntington Ave., BOSTON
1(617) 266-0800

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |