a tribute to me, by Kate Cortesi

I was "inducted" into New Dramatists this fall, and as part of the New Playwrights Welcome, fellow resident playwright Kate Cortesi wrote the most amazing, humbling tribute to me. I don't know that I will ever be so honored in my life so I'm just going to post her beautiful words here on my blog:

AYA OGAWA. How lucky are the members of her audience. Lucky, and unprepared.

No sooner are you settled into the play you’re watching when her work goes: Hell nah! This isn’t the play you think it is! We’re in a different play! Keep up!

And so, you adjust your glasses, change your shoes, and run to catch up. You chase down a new cast, new country, new language, new problem... and just when you grab hold of this fresher, more wiggly experience... Aya throws another play at you.

But you’re wiser now. In better shape. So maybe you catch this one quick, trained by your education of the last hour. Or maybe you’re up and running... Maybe you’re growing again.

When the play is over, you have joined a living collage: disparate scraps do belong side-by-side—quilted together by Aya’s craftsmanship, your own brain, and what humans across languages and borders have in common.

It’s hard to think of a playwright who takes her audience more seriously. It’s hard to think of a playwright more committed to our senses of sight and sound while never letting up on our brains. In her work I am reminded that emotion and intellect are not dichotomous. In her vision, we think as passionately as we sing. We problem solve as intuitively as we embrace a child. We release words like breaths. And because we speak so relentlessly, our words fail, constantly, and brutally.

Her piece Oph3lia is about the reach and the limits of language. The path to connection is made of the exact same stuff as isolation. Both are always right here, a few tragic words away. In this play, translation is a dubious proposition, and the translator is fucked. This play contains the line, “It’s been over five years since I spoke out loud. Five years since I quit being human.” I was amazed that this playwright was able to convey this sense of languagelessness with language! And non-humanness with a live human! What a neat trick.

Here are some of the things I did in the audience of her 2015 Ludic Proxy:
I felt torn about leaving behind a town in Japan and homesick for a village in the Ukraine.
I voted on what happens next, and my vote was counted.
I experienced the English language as front-footed and Japanese as back-footed.
I felt confused, and that my confusion was in good hands.
I felt that environmental catastrophe, man made and otherwise, is eternal and in the face of
it, I am no more than a little bug.
I also felt humanity’s refusal to be a little bug. I found it noble and brave.

At Aya’s plays, you’ll hear music and behold something like dance. You will travel to places far away from each other. You will find humanity equally similar to Gods and insects.

I wish everyone in this room the exercise that is being in Aya’s audience. Her extraordinary mind will whip yours into shape and leave you bigger, smarter, looser, and more humane.


Suicide Forest

I'm directing a staged reading of Kristine Haruna Lee's new play Suicide Forest on Tuesday October 18 at 8pm at the Bushwick Starr.  The reading is FREE! Come check out this dark and funny play that dismantles the psyche of contemporary Japanese society and features --- GOATS.

I'm excited and curious about this play, especially after having spent some time helping Joshua Zucker-Pluda on his yet unfinished documentary Sea of Trees, about the virgin forest at the foot of Mount Fuji, famous for its gnarled uneven floor that disorients those who enter -- making it the ideal destination for people who want to disappear or commit suicide. 

We're also assembling an all Japanese / Japanese-heritage cast, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while. xx

"Artists with families should be able to make art!"

Thank you so much to those of you who have made a donation! In less than a week, the project has reached over 50% of its minimum goal and 29% of its stretch goal! I've felt so warmed and encouraged by the response to this project and wanted to share some more about why I've launched this fundraising campaign. Check out this video to find out where your donations are going, exactly. 

Please donate here if you can!

what is ludic proxy?

Ludic = of or pertaining to play

Proxy = substitute, representativee

Ludic proxy = game-induced deja vu. Take these images, for example:

Image of the Prometheus monument in Pripyat as portrayed in the game STALKER: The Call of Pripyat.

The Prometheus monument in Pripyat, in real life.

Have you ever been so engrossed in a video game set in a specific location that you've never been to -- that when you do go there for the first time, you feel like you've been there before, you know which street to turn on, you recognize the architecture and layout of the city?

My play Ludic Proxy is about (among other things) the distortion of reality through the lens of technology and memory.

Ludic Proxy work-in-progress at River to River

I'm excited to announce that I have been invited to show part of Ludic Proxy for LMCC's River to River Festival this summer. I've been in residence in LMCC's WorkSpace program for the last 9 months, which has been an incredible experience. I'll be showing Act 2 & 3 for River to River on:

Monday June 23 @ 5pm

Wednesday June 25 @ 2pm

Friday June 27 @ 4pm

at One Liberty Plaza, 12th Floor.  Reservations are required and the RSVP system will be up on June 9 here.

new FB page

After some reluctance, I was convinced by "someone" that I had to have a Facebook page for "Aya Ogawa."  So here it is.  Like it, if you please.  https://www.facebook.com/aya.ogawa 

upcoming spring workshops

I've been in development for my latest piece Ludic Proxy. Some workshops coming up include:

Script development week April 1-6, 2014

Open Studio Weekend May 2-4, 2014 (open to public)

River-to-River Festival June 19-29, 2014 (open to public)

Stay tuned for more information to come!