Published on May 15th, 2015 | by Katy Evans0
Two more chances to see Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka at the University of Washington Tacoma
“If we want a more equitable, inclusive and diverse theatre, I believe we need less rhetoric and more problem solving… One of the biggest problems (I think we can all agree) is the shameful fact that there are still so many voices that are not being heard on our stages. If we genuinely want a diverse and inclusive theatre, then we need to actively seek out artists from underserved and underrepresented communities, and we need to produce their work. And, yes, it is that simple. It’s not enough to speak about inclusion and equity in grant applications and panel discussions. Those principles of inclusion and equity need to translate into action. I believe universities can provide a model for how to do just that.”
So playwright Naomi Iizuka began her remarks at the 2014 TCG (Theatre Communications Group) National Conference.
Iizuka’s call-to-action articulates what she herself did in 2006 when she wrote the play Anon(ymous), an Odyssey-inspired hero’s journey symbolizing the collective immigrant experience through overlapping timelines and the undulating surreal and hyper-real experiences of the main character, Anon.
And this is what Toy Boat Theatre seems to be doing as well: sharing serious, provocative, inclusive, and diverse theatre in Tacoma, Washington.
So far, the efforts are working: Toy Boat’s captain (artistic director/founder) Marilyn Bennett is is showing us where her artistic priorities are through her two most recent productions: involve our local community in bringing to life stories of those who are underrepresented. She did it with Jean Genet’s The Maids, and she did it again in partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma with Iizuka’s Anon(ymous).
Anon(ymous) deploys horror, humor, music, and metaphor to tell the tale of its hero Anon as he searches the bewildering, often frightening and sometimes, surprisingly tender American landscape, seeking, though displaced, some place and someone to call home.
This is primarily a student production, admirably displaying the commitment of a passionate nearly all-UW Tacoma student cast. Clearly, this kind of program is something the University was hungry and ready for; all the actors devoted themselves to the work, bringing the pathos, love, and terror of Anon’s journey to vivid life.
Anon(ymous) is an exciting next step in Toy Boat’s work in Tacoma and I can’t see what happens next.
You have just two more opportunities to see Anon(ymous) so grab your tickets now:
Toy Boat Theatre and the University of Washington Tacoma present Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka
Friday May 15 & Saturday May 16 at 7:30 pm
UWT Broadcast Theatre
007 Cherry Parks
1918 Pacific Ave.
Buy tickets here: brownpapertickets.com/event/1475005
All photographs by Peter Serko.