夜 YORU (or, WHEN THE NIGHT BECOMES ONE SOUND)
Written by Teiya Kasahara 笠原 貞野
Directed by Aria Umezawa
Starring Deborah Drakeford, Luka Kawabata, Testuro Shigematsu and Rae Takei
Stage directions read by Teiya Kasahara 笠原 貞野
Sound design by Teiya Kasahara 笠原 貞野, Heidi Chan, and Aki Takahashi
Music performed by Heidi Chan and Aki Takahashi
Readings and events are entirely free. If you have the capacity, please consider making a tax-deductible donation in support of the future of feminist art.
夜 YORU is a multidisciplinary work that collides at the intersection of binary gender expectations, and eastern and western cultures and musical forms. Hana (they/them) yearns for a connection to their late Japanese father who died over a decade ago. When an unexpected downsizing of their mother’s house prompts a sudden trip back to their childhood home, Hana can’t avoid the internal reckoning that awaits, not only forcing them to grapple with their past, but with their present and ultimately their future.
Content notice: 夜 YORU explores transphobia, homophobia, death, illness (cancer), racism, bullying, misgendering, childbirth.
Special thanks to Nightwood Innovators Drea, Maria Alejandra Cortes, Erin Jones, Emily Maxwell, Gus Monet and Abigail Whitney.
About the playwright
Nikkei-Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原 貞野 (they/them) is a queer, trans/non-binary, interdisciplinary creator-performer based in Tkarón:to (Toronto). Heralded as “a force of nature” (Toronto Star) and “an artist with extraordinary things to say” (The Globe and Mail) Teiya comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe such as the Queen of the Night/THE MAGIC FLUTE (Essen, Vancouver, Edmonton) and the title role in MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Windsor Symphony). Recent digital appearances include ELECTRIC MESSIAH (Soundstreams), SYMPHONIC PRIDE (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), and their first video series 19 VIDEOS FOR COVID-19 as “the balcony soprano” (Toronto Star).
Teiya is also a co-founder of Amplified Opera, a new initiative which is bringing Canada an “injection of […] creativity & politics of inclusivity” (barczablog) to the opera sector, and is also the Canadian Opera Company’s Disruptor-in-Residence since 2021.
Within their own artistic practice, Teiya explores the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race through their original works THE QUEEN IN ME (World Premiere 2022), 夜 YORU (Nightwood’s Write From The Hip Program), BUTTERFLY PROJECT (Confluence Concerts & Amplified Opera), and new work LITTLE MIS(S)GENDER as the 2021-22 artist-in-residence at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, also supported by TO Live Explorations.
About the director and cast
Aria Umezawa (she/her)
With her quirky, irreverent style, Aria Umezawa’s work evokes wonder and challenges the long-established traditions of opera and classical music. The stage director, producer, and writer is a co-founder of Amplified Opera, the independent, equity-seeking opera company and current Disruptor-in-Residence at the Canadian Opera Company. Aria was Artistic Director of Opera 5 from 2012-17. Recent and upcoming engagements include Acis and Galatea with Philharmonia Baroque at Caramoor and Tanglewood (COVID19), a workshop of Vastation (Moussa) with Calgary Opera and two productions of Madama Butterfly with the Canadian Opera Company, and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Directing highlights include The Future is Now: Adler Fellows in Concert and Christmas with SOL3 MIO with San Francisco Opera, Thomas’ Hamlet with West Edge Opera, and Poulenc’s La voix humaine with Against the Grain Theatre. Aria has directed the Canadian premieres of Milton Granger’s Talk Opera and Darren Russo’s Storybook (commissioned by Opera 5), and the North American premiere of Cavalli’s Artemisia with Boston’s Helios Opera.
An advocate for safe, equitable practices in the opera and performing arts industries, Aria is in demand as a presenter and educator. In 2018 she developed Safe to Run: Bystander Intervention Training for the Rehearsal Room with Opera McGill and the San Francisco Opera Center, and has run the workshop at opera companies across North America. Website: ariaumezawa.com.
[Image description: A multiracial (Japanese, Irish-Italian) woman in her early 30’s with reddish-brown hair up in a bun, wearing a denim shirt and a gold chain necklace, looks up and points at a bubble with a smile on her face. She stands against a light blue-grey background.
Deborah Drakeford (she/her)
Deb has been a freelance actor for over 30 years. She has worked all across the country from BC to PEI. She is the Co-Artistic Producer of ARC, an award winning indie theatre company. Her most recent work includes performing with Soulpepper Theatre, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Shakespeare in the Ruff, and ARC. She has also done a smattering of film/tv/voice work. Deb is also an Arts Educator and a supply teacher for the TDSB.
[Image description: A white woman in her early 50s with short grey/blonde hair and blue eyes, smiling with a closed mouth and wearing a blue and black zippered jacket.]
Luka Kawabata (he/him)
Nikkei-Canadian baritone, Luka Kawabata is a current member of the Yulanda M Faris Young Artists’ Program with Vancouver Opera, having appeared as Dmitri in Wargo’s The Music Shop and as Escamillo in Bizet’sCarmen: Up Close and Personal in the 2020-2021 Digital Season. He is an alumnus of the Digital Emerging Artist Program with Manitoba Opera and the ‘Opera in the 21st Century’ program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Luka is a mentor for Opera InReach’s chapter in British Columbia and has been a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach and the Vancouver Opera/Pacific Opera Victoria’s school tour of The Flight of the Hummingbird. Luka is passionate about create art that moves the needle towards an inclusive and equitable future. He is proud to be making his producorial debut with “Paueru-Gai パウエル街” in Vancouver’s IndieFest 2021, celebrating his intersectional lived experience and the history of Japanese immigration to the West Coast of North America. His project, “Imposter.詐欺師.Bedragare”, which explores his experience being raised within a multi-racial identity, is set to premiere in November 2021.
[Image description: a Nikkei man with short dark hair, shaved closely on the sides of his head. He is turned and looking towards the camera, wearing a grey suit jacket and white dress shirt on a dark grey background.]
Tetsuro Shigematsu (he/him)
A former writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Tetsuro Shigematsu became the first person-of-colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada, when he became host of The Roundup on CBC Radio. Tetsuro’s theatrical solo-work Empire of the Son was named the best show of 2015 by the Vancouver Sun, and has been touring continuously throughout Canada, and beyond. It has played in 18 cities to over 20,000 people. His other solo-work, 1 Hour Photo garnered five Jessie nominations, winning for Significant Artistic Achievement, and was named as a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Drama.
Rae Takei (they/them)
Rae Takei is a queer and trans Nisei haafu multidisciplinary artist, born and raised on the stolen land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations, colonially called Vancouver.
Rae is possibly better known as Rose Butch (@rose.butch), an non-binary drag persona whose style and sensibility follows the pursuit of gender euphoria. Their drag theatre collective, The Darlings, aims to challenge the boundaries of conventional drag and explores genderqueer, non-binary and trans experience through poetry, movement, dance, theatre, and immersive installation. Rae is a graduate of Studio 58.