Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: (Ottawa) The Tashme Project - the Living Archives

This Is the Unfolding of Life
by Robyn Lester

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives created by Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa is a play that demonstrates the true beauty of storytelling and the transformative power of memory.

Through the verbatim re-tellings of true stories, this play opens our eyes to the realities of the 2nd generation Japanese-Canadians (Nisei) who were interned during WWII as children. Through their memories of that experience, and the hardships they continued to face after the internment, we are given a living history lesson. One that is all too often overlooked.

I was particularly struck with the storytelling itself. As each story unfolded, a different emotion surfaced. Anger at the injustice, awe at the strength of the human spirit, and joy for the fun that was had even during the darkest times. At the root of each story was the amazing fortitude of children, their incredible ability to cope and make the best out of the worst situations, and the role memory plays in preventing things from truly being lost. 

My one qualm was that it was difficult to differentiate the characters. There was little movement in the play, so there was little in the way of physical mannerisms to tell the characters apart. As such we were reliant upon the voice alterations alone, and it was tricky to keep them straight.

That being said, The Tashme Project was a wonderful play, and I highly recommend it. I wanted to hear more, to learn more. Each story had something to offer, and I didn’t want the night to end.  

Feb. 11 - 23

Run Time: 50 minutes

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