In its premiere last year, Japanese Problem invited a small group of audience members right into a livestock stall at Hastings Park.
There, temporary residents had built a makeshift home--some of the many people who were held there, in 1942, as part of the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Cocreators Yoshié Bancroft and Joanna Garfinkel had envisioned the play as a way to remind people of the dark history that had long been erased from the site.
The premiere was sold out even before it opened, but has now secured its Livestock Building site in the barn across from the Hastings Race Course, for a second, and possibly last, run September 13 to 29.
Our review called the show "site-specific theatre at its most powerful". Bancroft told the Straight in an interview last year that she was bothered by the fact that she had grown up going to Playland, unaware that the site was where more than 8,000 Japanese-Canadians, just like her, were held and “processed” during the Second World War.
The play took home the Critics' Choice Innovation award, along with mind of a Snail's Multiple Organism, at the recent Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. At the ceremony, Garfinkel said, “We wanted to change the stories that were told, who was in them, and who told them.”
In similar news, the show's next presenter, Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre, has already sold out Japanese Problem's October run there.