First review here and below.

The Write Act Presents “Unforgettable.”

Written by 

Monday, 16 September 2019 02:12

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The Write Act Presents “Unforgettable.” Written by Rochelle Perry. Directed by Cassie Soliday.

There’s something about The Brickhouse Theatre.  It’s small, tucked away in the back streets of NoHo, but it has character and presence.

It gives the work performed there a sense of place and time. Perhaps it’s the exposed brick. It gives the spoken word a warmth and a resonance that you just can’t get from the painted black walls of most smaller theatres in LA.

This play, “Unforgettable,” with its deeply emotional core, needs the support of this particularly special theatre.  The story revolves around an aged Japanese woman who has just lost her husband to gun violence and, through her haze of dementia, she struggles to accept it.  Her young granddaughter, just about to graduate college and a pretty typical woman of her generation and affluent upbringing, is taking care of her while her mother takes a break.

The two of them wrestle with their collective now and the grandmother’s past, which flits in and out of her mind manifesting on stage with younger versions of herself and her handsome husband, making her unsure of everything.   She quite heartbreakingly has no memory of the night an intruder broke into the house and shot her husband.  So as the play unfolds and her granddaughter tries to find her own role in this strange reversal of care, we laugh with them, we weep with them, and we marvel at the story of one woman’s journey from Japan in the years before the war, her marriage against her families wishes to a Filipino man and their immigration to the states.

It’s a beautiful piece.  The supremely genuine and exquisite performances by the two leads give nuance and pathos and humanity to the story.

The supporting cast is also wonderful and what begins as a simple story of loss becomes something with much more depth and with an undeniable relevance in today’s world.

As usual, Write Act Repertory has brought us a fascinating and compelling story, filled with excellent performances.  This tender and beautifully moving play is a joy….Bravo!

Ticket info and showtimes

The Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood, 91601

It runs till October 13, so don’t miss it! https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4334653

Cast:

Tracy S. Lee (Rita), Randi Tahara (Keiko), George Infantado (Joseph), Ami Shimada (Young Keiko), Godfrey Flax (Marc/Police Officer) and Diane Chernansky (Doctor).

Production Team:

John Lant (Producing Artistic Director), Tamra Pica (Producer), Rochelle Perry (Playwright), Cassie Soliday (Director), Isabel Gallegos (Costume Designer), Jonathan Harrison (Associate Producer) and Lynn Barzola (Graphic Designer).

 

Second review here and below.

Poignant ‘Unforgettable’ is what great theatre is all about in NoHo through October 13

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Randi Tahara as the grandmother Keiko, Ami Shimada as the Young Keiko, and Tracy Lee as the granddaughter Rita in “Unforgettable” through Oct. 13 in NoHo.
Photo by Cassie Soliday

Toward the end of this uplifting play, a grandmother named Keiko (played with vitality by Randi Tahara) imagines younger versions of herself and her late husband, dancing beside her. Suddenly, the younger version of her husband draws near. Her face lights up as she joins him for a dance. This poignant moment is what great theatre is all about.

During the play, granddaughter Rita (portrayed warmly by Tracy Lee) spends her spring break with her grandmother Keiko. They discuss many wonderful stories, including timeless Japanese folktales.

The play is transporting, thanks to the sincerity of the cast and the vibrant, impressive costumes. When folktales are performed, young Keiko (the lovely Ami Shimada) can be found with cherry blossoms in her hair, or dancing on the moon, or acting out the classic tale Momotarō about a couple who discover a boy born from a giant peach.

The play gently reminds us of things that can elevate our lives, from enduring memories, to durable folklore, to inspiring human values. Highly recommended.

Unforgettable,” written by Rochelle Perry, directed by Cassie Soliday, featuring Tracy Lee (Rita), Randi Tahara (Keiko), Ami Shimada (Young Keiko), George Infantado (Joseph), Godfrey Flax (Marc/Police Officer) and Diane Chernansky (Doctor) is on stage Saturdays at 7pm and Sundays at 2pm through October 13 at the Write Act Repertory Theatre, at The Brickhouse, located at 10950 Peach Grove St. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $15 for general admission or $20 at the door. Go online to brownpapertickets.com/event/4334653.

Third review here and below.

Written by Harrison Held, October 8th, 2019

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Fourth review here and below.

By Mary E Montoro

UNFORGETTABLE

Unforgettable/That’s what you are/Unforgettable/Tho’ near or far/ Like a song of love that clings to me/How the thought of you does things to me/Never before has someone been more/Unforgettable in every way.
— Nat King Cole made the song famous in 1951; daughter Natalie did a computer-generated duet with her father in 1991. The Grammy-award winning song won 3 awards in 1992.

Parents just don’t understand, said The Fresh Prince better known as Will Smith, who rapped the 1988 classic with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Unforgettable the show is more about grandparents who don’t or can’t understand. When two generations exist in the same home, there’s about to be some problems. Fashion designer student Rita (Tracy Lee marvels in this role) lives with her traditional Japanese grandmother Keiko (Randi Tahara is amazing). Rita is a laid back young woman with a passion for two things: clothing and her latest man Mark. Between her social life and Grandma Keiko losing what’s left of her mind, Rita has her hands full.
Keiko constantly berates her granddaughter for stealing her clothes or items around the house. Rita suspects there’s something more to her grandmother’s erratic behavior. To calm her down, Rita asks her to recall the day she met her late Filipino husband, Joseph. This is when the adult Keiko remembers her younger self (Ami Shimada is wonderful) with such happiness and excitement. Here she can vividly recall marrying her true and only love Joseph (George Infantado has a brief but memorable presence). When it comes to her late husband, Keiko is very clear in her memories of them both. Rita listens earnestly and asks her grandmother to continue.

The flashback helps both grandmother and granddaughter reach some type of understanding with each other. Rita learns that the elder Keiko was once a vibrant woman with a deep passion for Joseph. Not the same hard-core affection Tracy has for Mark but, Tracy witnesses in awe how deep Keiko’s love for Joseph goes even after death. There are brief interludes of clarity Keiko experiences about her life in Japan. It’s these memories that momentarily keeps her together.
Writer Rochelle Perry excels in writing such a beautiful yet, heart wrenching story. There are two types of love executed extremely well. Tracy and Keiko. Keiko and Joseph. The former is ongoing and the latter ended way too soon. This would explain Keiko’s unpredictable behavior. She’s heartbroken for losing her man and now lives between fantasy and reality and the reality is much harsh than she can handle. Luckily, her vibrant grand-daughter is there to remind Keiko of her vivacious youth. Director Cassie Soliday brings out the tender moments in small pieces until a portrait of love and sacrifice reveals itself whole and with heart. It’s distressing to see Keiko unable to distinguish the past and the present. It’s these precious moments that make life so sacred and sometimes unforgivable.

Unforgettable plays until Sunday, October 13th, plays Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Write Act Repertory located at 10950 Peach Grove Street in North Hollywood. For ticket information log on to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4334653

 

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