Ghosts of My Past

It’s a cheesy title.  But the best I can come up with.  This might be a tad embarrassing to talk about on my blog but this topic has been weighing heavily on my mind and it will affect the development of Japanese Eyes/American Heart.

In the play, Amaya is plagued by ghosts of her grandfather’s unknown past.  These “ghosts” are not seen in the world of the play, but can be seen in the audience’s world.  When the Shakespeare text was intertwined, the characters from The Tempest represented theses “ghosts”.  I originally kept the Shakespeare in because I’m stubborn.  It’s an ambitious decision to intertwine Shakespeare into contemporary text of my own words.  Plus, I was writing this play as my thesis for my graduate degree.  I hadn’t thought that this play would have a life outside of school.  However, I was mistaken.  It has begun to generate interest from others, hence to why I created this blog.  I realized after looking at my last few entries, I hadn’t been writing about the play development lately and for that I apologize.  When I get into my “zone” I don’t think about, “Oh, I need to go blog about this.”  I spend so much time in my books and researching, that I forget about the reporting aspect.  If you know me personally, I love being a dramaturg in theatre about as much as I love performing on stage.  It’s a way to stay involved and also learn as much as you can.  I’ve been doing so much research on Japan and World War II and how it affected Japanese-Americans that I find myself going on tangents when I talk to friends when they ask how my research is going.  Even though Little Women closed in May, I’m still sorting through research on Louisa May Alcott and her work.  I love historical research.  Period.

But now that I’ve taken the Shakespeare out, I feel like there is something missing.  I want Amaya’s interest in learning about John’s past to be more than curiosity, because my intention was more than curiosity.  It has been shaped from the void that is in me because I only had my grandpa for seven years before he passed away.  Seeing the characters I created come to life on stage brought the memories back and made the memories more real than ever.  I still get positive feedback from audience members and there is a strong consensus that the play stands well on its own without the help of good ol’ Will.

I had a few of my actors from the staged reading look at some old family photos of me with my grandparent’s in which the seven year old version of Amaya is based upon.  One took a look at the photos and said, “I can totally see the personality you wrote about in your face.”  I didn’t think it translated as well as I had thought.

Anyway, back to ghosts.  I wrote about the ghosts of my past echoing into my present.  But that’s not all of it.  My family seems to attract paranormal activity.  I’m not going to talk specifics here because I rarely talk about it at all.  But lately, I’ve been trying to educate myself in the paranormal not only for my play, but also to help answer questions that have plagued me almost my whole life.  Education aside, it’s also made me more interested in becoming an investigator and try to help people who are going through something unexplained.   Right now, I have this unexplainable drive to become more involved in my education of this realm that terrified me as a child and continued well into my teens and he offered an online class, and I took the opportunity.

I always felt like that something is motivating me to keep going with the Japanese Eyes/American Heart project.  Something supernatural and something I cannot explain.  I feel like there needs to be a story told; about identity, making peace with your past and accepting that you may never be able to know all the answers or explain everything.  How will the ghosts of Amaya’s past manifest on stage?  Will there be an actor physically leading Amaya to the medals?  Or will it be a fog machine?  Will they be actual actors on stage or will they be the result of lighting and sound designers?  I won’t put the answer here.  All I’ll say is, right now I’m focusing on memory.  If I could draw a diagram of the memories between Amaya and John…Amaya would be God-like, in it that John only exists in her memory, and therefore, his memories exist in her memory as well, but she just doesn’t know it.  Maybe next time I’ll draw something out and scan it so you can see.  It’ll probably help my actors too.

Well, that’s it for now.

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