by Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Allison Arkell Stockman
October 24 – November 24, 2013
Opening Night – Sunday, October 27 at 7:00 p
Pay-What-You-Can Previews October 24 & 25 at 8:30 pm.
Preview October 26 at 8:00 pm
An intricate, intelligent drama about the impossible search for the truth
Amid vibrant woodblock prints, luminous landscapes and evocative portraits, an ancient Japanese pillow book emerges – a diary of sorts consisting of poems, lists, and intimate observations. Six ambitious individuals engage in an erotic game of greed, love and mental hide and seek as they solve the mystery of its origins. What makes art valuable? Questions are posed about authenticity – not only in rare antiquities, but also in personal identity and matters of the heart.
36 Views was originally produced by the Public Theatre/ New York Shakespeare Festival in association with Berkeley Repertory Company and premiered at the Public in New York City in 2002. The New York Daily News painted it as, “A captivating portrait of the art world’s seamier side” while Backstage described it as “A shimmering puzzle palace steeped in the arcane lore of medieval Japanese literature.”
Born in Tokyo, playwright Naomi Iizuka has a multicultural background with a mother who is an American Latina and a father who is a Japanese banker. She grew up in Japan, Indonesia, the Netherlands and here in Washington, DC, where she attended National Cathedral School before going to college at Yale and earning her MFA at University of California at San Diego. Her work has been produced by the Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, Huntington Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, The Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Edinburgh International Festival, among others.
The title of 36 Views pays homage to a series of woodblock prints by nineteenth-century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. First published for the New Year of 1831, Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji was so popular that Hokusai created 10 more, so now there are in fact 46 prints in the 36 Views series. Iizuka wrote her play in 36 intersecting scenes that skip around in location, time and sometimes even theatrical form – short sections of the play touch on ancient Japanese poetry or are inspired by the kabuki theatre tradition. Like Mount Fuji, anything or anybody can be seen from an infinite number of perspectives.
The stellar cast of 36 Views is led by Jim Jorgensen as an unscrupulous art dealer. Jorgensen, a Constellation favorite, has been seen in Gilgamesh, Zorro, The Ramayana and On The Razzle. Sue Jin Song plays the leading lady, an East Asian literature PhD and expert on the Hiean era. Song has been seen locally at Studio Theatre and Arena Stage. Constellation Associate Artists Megan Dominy and Ashley Ivey are being joined by Tuyet Thi Pham and David Paglin to form an excellent ensemble.
On the creative team, Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman, Constellation Resident Designers Kendra Rai (Costume Design) and A.J. Guban (Scenic and Lighting Design) collaborate with Aaron Fisher (Projections Design) and Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer) to bring this complex, tightly plotted play to life. It is the first time Constellation has incorporated projections. This script offers a remarkable opportunity to bring the visual art that the characters are so passionate about to the audience.