Taking place in 19th century Japan, the story concerns the culture clash sparked by America’s 1853 mission to open up Japan to the West. Up to this point, Japan had been an island empire living in peace for centuries, undisturbed by foreign intruders. However, once Commodore Perry and the Americans arrive, a civilization of timeless tradition and seamless serenity begins to unravel under the impact of new ideas.
Design Brief: This small theater version of the usually extravagant and grand Pacific Overtures approached the show with an entirely different concept. The full cast entered; a group of ragged traveling players on the road. Arriving to a ready made audience, they set down their trunk and put on a show for the crowd.
In terms of costumes, this meant that the “actors” were in ragged and worn simple clothes, in shades of grey with dappled textures, fading and distressing. As they performed the show, they layered more opulent and colorful pieces on top of this base costume, creating a look that was calculated and cohesive, yet one that seemed cleverly improvised in the moment.
Shari Barrett of BroadwayWorld says…
“[T]hanks to [James] Esposito’s brilliant casting and small stage direction, the production shines.”
“The actors are to be commended for their triple-threat performances using every inch of the small performance space, supported by the very Asian-flavored scenic design by Hector Figueroa and ever-changing colorful lighting design by Jesse Baldridge, which highlight the mood of each scene, with the traditional Japanese costume design by Kara McLeod a joy to behold.”