“Yohen” by Philip Kan Gotanda, at Dukesbay Theater, Is a unique story of an interracial marriage; it is a bittersweet tale of life and love.
Yohen is a Japanese pottery term meaning an accident in the kiln firing that results in a transformation of the pot. Gotanda uses this term as a metaphor for the crumbling marriage of James and Sumi as they struggle to find permanence amidst change.
The couple, an African American man and a Japanese national, met and fell in love while he served in post WWII Japan. It is 37 years later, James is retired and their marriage is showing cracks due to cultural/racial differences and the beauty which comes from creating one’s own art and life.
Sumi tells James to leave their house so they can start over from the beginning of their relationship; date again and see each other through new eyes. Can this new life routine, which includes James volunteering at a local community center and Sumi studying the art of pottery, help them repair what is broken and save what is worth keeping?
“Yohen,” which features the talents of Malcolm J. West as James Washington and Aya Hashiguchi as Sumi, is directed by Randy Clark.
The thought-filled piece opens Friday, October 19 and runs through Sunday, November 4. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.
All proceeds for “Yohen” will benefit Tacoma’s new Bryant Neighborhood Center, the building of which begins in the spring of 2019. The Bryant Neighborhood Center’s mission is to build community and provide collaborative services and support to the surrounding Bryant/Jason Lee neighborhood.
The Dukesbay Theater is located at 508 Sixth Ave. in downtown Tacoma; two floors above The Grand Cinema in the historic Merlino Art Center.