I’m in a bit of a pickle (as opposed to a piece of cake) about my most recent show. Another night, after all, another Magnetic North show, this time over at the NAC studio. And tonight it was KAWASAKI EXIT, written and directed by Blake Brooker and performed by Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit. I can say they’re an amazing company with talent to spare…seriously, I feel more talented having just seen the damn show. And I LOVED the show. I know, I know, I’m always positive on this thing, yes, it’s true. Fucking kill me, I like theatre and want people to go. But I was suckerpunched but good by the shit on display in the show, which brings me to my pickle…I don’t really know how to write about it.
See, I went in pretty much blind, and I’m very happy I did. There are some amazing little twists in this show (okay, I’ve since discovered spoilers on some of the big sites, but ya won’t read them here) which I’m loath to give away in advance. Love ’em, hate ’em, or just plain be baffled by ’em (I heard a few of the latter opinions on the way out of doors this evening), I think it’s cooler any way you slice it if it comes as a surprise. What I WILL talk about is the wonderful story by Brooker, and the almost literally amazing performances by the company…Denise Clarke, Andy Curtis and Patrick MacEachern. The story of a Japanese couple driving to a mysterious destination, with the root ‘destiny’ clearly wrapped up in their fateful roadtrip. Clarke and Curtis are heartbreakingly lovely and real as Satsuki and Toshi, and they had me rising and falling right along with the two of them. They’re joined along the way by MacEachern as Kenzo, aka ‘the Japanese Robert Deniro’, a failed young actor with a pivotal role to play in Satsuki and Toshi’s journey.
The tension is slow building and worth every second in this production, with a few prods along the way about karaoke, temporal causality, and some particularly disturbing ‘social websites’ in Japan. A few questions still linger in my mind about the show and story, and I suspect you’ll have some too. Me, I enjoy being left with a few questions to ask…puzzles aren’t so bad, after all. And some questions aren’t meant to be answered. KAWASAKI EXIT is a show that will (and absolutely did, at least tonight) leave audiences excited, scratching their heads, arguing, and hopefully, thinking. And, in my own case, wishing like fuck I had the chance to see it again (not to mention jonesing for a PIZZICATO 5 fix).
One Yellow Rabbit is good medicine, folks. Check it while you can. Take the Exit, and mind your fellow drivers. Peace, love and soul,
the Visitor (and Winston)