Tokyo 2020: Yu, 39, career-driven but recently dumped by her long term job, keeps beating her head against societal pressures to get married. Sick of the patriarchy and feeling powerless, she struggles to fit in her own country. Can the answer to her self-doubt lie in following her great-grandmother Takako’s footsteps and travelling to San Francisco? Armed with an airplane ticket and Takako’s diary, Yu sets out to find herself.
San Francisco 1920: Takako, 16, stares at the numerous men waiting on the dock. Armed with only a photo and a marriage certificate, she tries to recognise her new husband who she has never met, in a land she has never been. Facing down hostility and cultural differences, Takako, one of the many Japanese Picture Brides of the early 20th century, bravely sets out to create a home for herself in America. Lonely in a land that both welcomes and resents her, she finds solace in keeping a diary where she writes about her struggle. Can her diary help light the way for a great-granddaughter who she will never meet?
BAABA’S FOOTSTEPS straddles time and place, but remains a story about love and belonging. Touching, infuriating and downright funny, Yu and Takako’s stories intertwine as two generations of women struggle to find their way in societies that do not accept them. From Japanese-American internment camps during WW2 to sexist work policies of 2020, we vortex through three eras by the hands of two women, struggling to find their places in lives set up for them by others.
BAABA’S FOOTSTEPS is a new play, written by Susan Hingley, premiering at the VAULT Festival. It is proudly supported by the Arts Council England.
- Lemon House Theatre on BAABA’S FOOTSTEPS:
"BAABA’S FOOTSTEPS takes you across different locations and time periods, but remains a story about home. It balances poignant moments with laugh-out-loud ones, with Susan weaving them together to create a story that shows that you can question your identity at any age.”
Susan Momoko Hingley: Susan is an actress and writer of British-Japanese decent, who has a passion for collaborative theatre making and creating opportunities for BAME writers. As an actress, she has worked for companies such as the RSC (Wendy and Peter Pan, Boris Godunov and A Life of Galileo) Shakespeare’s Globe (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Tangled Feet. She most recently appeared in Years & Years (BBC/HBO) and is currently performing in Missing People (Leeds Playhouse / Kani Public Arts Centre).
Ragga Dahl Johansen: Ragga is a director with a passion for storytelling. She has worked on numerous new writing productions in Norway and the UK both as a director and dramaturge. In addition, she has worked as assistant director to Kathryn Hunter on Othello (RSC), Untouchable (RADA Festival) and Napoleon Disrobed (Told by and Idiot) and for Hideki Noda on One Green Bottle, The Diver and The Bee (Soho Theatre).
Ragga and Susan previously ran Pin the Tale Theatre Company. Their devised double-bill “Catch/Ulov” were hits at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and went on to tour nationally in venues including the Almeida Theatre. They also made work for the Lyric Hammersmith and held a workshop at the National Theatre Studio.
Filip Krenus: Filip is the co-producer of the show. He is the Artistic Director of Honey-tongued Theatre Productions and creative producer of Midsummer Scene Festival, Dubrovnik, the southernmost English theatre festival in Europe. His productions have toured internationally, and his focus is crossing cultural bridges. Filip also translates and develops plays and is currently working on a series of rehearsed readings of Croatian plays for the Young Vic.
Sound Design: Guy Connelly
Set and Costume design: Hannah Kuchar
Lighting design: Nao Nagai
Cast: Tomoko Komura, Eyre Kurasawa, Johnny Ong and Tammie Rhee.
Praise for Previous Work by artists:
- Michael Attenborough on CATCH / ULOV
“... Serious stories told through laughter... Dignity achieved by throwing dignity away... Gestures that speak, words that paint... Gears changed in the blink of an eye.”
- Broadway Baby on CATCH ★★★★★
“This production is quite fantastic. A great soundtrack, script and good acting combine to produce a powerful show.”
- The Scotsman on CATCH ★★★★
“Beautifully conveyed piece of physical theatre.”
- British Theatre Review on CATCH ★★★★
“This is a brilliantly clever show constructed and performed with a full measure of theatrical mastery.”
- Everything Theatre Blog on SPLASH!
“This is a fun performance with lots of water and fantastic imagery using umbrellas and movement.”
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