PLAY PREMIERE: ‘miku, and the gods.’ opens tonight at ArtsWest. Here’s what playwright Julia Izumi hopes you’ll experience

(WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tonight, New York City playwright Julia Izumi will be at West Seattle’s ArtsWest Playhouse for the opening performance of her world-premiere play miku, and the gods.

Not that she’s just dropping in to check it out. She’s been here for a month, collaborating face-to-face with director Alyza DelPan-Monley and the cast/crew as they brought her play – billed as an “epic adventure” – to life. “For a play, unlike novels, the final form is not the written form – I can’t possibly know what it’s supposed to look or sound or feel like until I see it embodied.” She appreciates the actors “rolling with the punches and taking the edits as they come, even if they memorized the script!”

Now it’s time to bring in the audiences.

We talked with Izumi earlier this week on a sunny morning in The Junction, about her career as well as about her play.

“It’s a mix of genres – a bit of comedy, a bit of fantasy, magical realism, yet a very human story about a young girl with big dreams who’s also a young girl who’s coping with a lot of loss and struggling to understand what that is.”

While “miku, and the gods.” is not kid-geared, Izumi says it’s OK for younger theatergoers: “We called it PG-13 with the understanding that some people younger will go – there’s nothing explicit – just some of the realities are complex … I wrote it from a place of love and care and joy, even though a lot of darker themes come in, with an open heart and open mind – storytelling expands into straightforward realism at times – like oue experiences of emotions – we don’t always have to understand everything but we have to feel it.”

What might the ArtsWest audiences feel and experience? For one – “I hope it’s funny – the audience will tell me,” she laughs. Also, you might gain some wisdom: “It’s definitely sort of a cautionary tale, when we don’t take care of each other and help our youth in understanding what grief is, what anger is, how to responsibly live alongside power.”

There’s another lesson younger theatergoers might learn from “miku, and the gods.”, our conversation reveals – Izumi observes, “It’s so important for young people to learn that there are new plays out there.” We talk about how school plays are so often the classics, like Shakespeare, which has value, but might leave youth less aware of contemporary theater.

Izumi did not start out on a writing path – she grew up acting, “a lot of musical theater.” Yet while she “liked performing” she wasn’t sure her future was as an actor – staying immersed in one character can be boring, she felt, as much as she loved theater. So in college, “a spot opened in Advanced Playwriting, even though I hadn’t taken beginning or intermediate.” She just jumped into writing longer plays from the start. Now, more than a decade later, with a growing resumé, her feet are firmly planted in that path. “I’m very grateful to be here.”

At ArtsWest, she says she’s “lucky to be working with a great director” who also has a background in “dance and choreography,” so “it’s been really great to combine our worlds together to tell the story,” including “lights and visuals creating something a little outside our world.”

But once theatergoers step back into the world outside the playhouse, what does Izumi imagine they’ll take with them?

“I hope they’ll hug their loved ones and call their grandma.”

“miku, and the gods.” is onstage at ArtsWest (4711 California SW; WSB sponsor) 7:30 pm Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 3 pm Sundays, through July 3rd, You can get tickets in advance online.

1 Reply to "PLAY PREMIERE: 'miku, and the gods.' opens tonight at ArtsWest. Here's what playwright Julia Izumi hopes you'll experience"

  • GF June 17, 2022 (7:21 am)

    Can’t wait to see it. It has been a great season of shows this year at Arts West. I am looking forward to next season already! This is a gem in our community!

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