This piece from Japan seeks to present a slice of life. It states on its flyer that it doesn’t show “taiko, kimono, samurai, sushi, geisha or kabuki”. Instead, it offers a stripped-back solo performance in an intimate venue about a man and the woman he loves.
The show calls for a writing consultant.
Yuuya Ishizone is an excellent performer and has a good emotional range in this piece. Unfortunately, the script is underdeveloped and it takes a few scenes for the story to emerge, but even then many of the following scenes fail to progress. The piece sets into a predictable rhythm of the character reading the news and then calling his old school friend Jennifer, who has returned to Japan as a journalist to cover the aftermath of the earthquake.
It’s clear from the beginning that he yearns for Jenny, but it takes a while for him to try and win her. Beginning at first with social proprieties, he repeatedly suggests they meet up, but she’s always too busy. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly despondent in his job as an English teacher, particularly after students tell him his English isn’t good. What’s not clear is the purpose of the news reading scenes – to begin with, we’re unsure if the addition of his reading glasses is intended to signify a different character. This does become clear later on, although I still wonder at the choice of the news pieces included. Other than a news piece on the earthquake, the significance of the stories is unclear.
Ishizone wrote, directed and performs News Junkie. This triple threat approach is common in the Fringe, although it’s usually ill advised. Many solo performances would benefit from outside eyes, usually with the addition of a director. In this case, the show calls for a writing consultant. The problem here is the script, which needs reshaping and some refining for clarity.