The Courtesan – A New Play

When time intertwines Japanese art, Impressionism, environmental science, and three cultures…

(left) Kesai Eisan (right) Van Gogh copy

In 2012 I went to the Van Gogh museum and saw all these Japanese prints. I thought it was cool they included them in the museum but then I realized it was Van Gogh copying Japanese wood-block prints as did many artists of the time. Japanese artwork really gave birth to Impressionism. I couldn’t get the image of one painting, The Courtesan, out of my head. I kept imagining the subject of the painting talking to the artist. Then I thought about global influences of art and cultures and how art can help give us hope even through devastation.

So I wrote two different stories across time: one of an artist and his work come to life and the other set at the site of an environmental disaster in modern-day China. The two stories are connect through time and place with an eternal longing for love, connection and inspiration to go on living. I chose nine Japanese prints that inspired Van Gogh and wrote scenes with two different story lines.

(left) Utagawa Hiroshige (right) Van Gogh copy

I gathered the musical talents of UNIT SOUZOU and three gifted actors Samson Syharath, Ken Yoshikawa and Elaine Low (who has been in five of my prior plays). I’ve been writing scenes based on nine of the original Japanese prints Van Gogh and other artists copied.We’ve started rehearsal for a reading with movement, projections, dance and music as well as slides of the paintings, my sound and lighting by Xander Atwood.

It will be  75-minute show at the intimate New Expressive Works on Jan. 27th at 7:30pm and Jan. 28th at 2pm & 7:30pm. Please mark your calendars.

It’s been 14 years since I’ve written a stage play. I  hope you can see this new work.

Here’s more info!
A chance meeting between Van Gogh and his inspiration for the painting The Courtesan. How Japanese art influenced Impressionism with a side trip through time to modern-day China at the site of a devasting chemical spill.

The Courtesan
a new play
by Dmae Roberts
A 75-minute staged reading with projections, sound, movement and featured music/dance by Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe of UNIT SOUZOU
and actors Samson Syharath, Elaine Low and Ken Yoshikawa. With creative team Paige Rogers, Xander Atwood and Joe Rogers.

Jan. 27th @ 7:30pm, Jan. 28th @ 2pm & 7:30pm
at N.E.W. Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont, PDX 97214
Tix: Advance are tickets are $10.
It’s $5 students//Oregon Trail Card (day of show with I.D.)\
Buy tickets for The Courtesan – a new play by Dmae Roberts (service fee included)

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