Jeanne Workshops A CAGE OF FIREFLIES by Daniel Akiyama at Sundance Institute Theatre Lab

Jeanne Workshops A CAGE OF FIREFLIES by Daniel Akiyama at Sundance Institute Theatre Lab

L-R: Emily Kuroda, Jeanne, Dian Kobayashi

Mountains, fresh air, brooks and waterfalls, sumptuous mountain cabins, a gathering of brilliant theatre artists from all over the country working on new plays, and the legacy of Robert Redford—what could be better? I was hugely excited to be asked to workshop Daniel Akiyama’s first full-length play, A CAGE OF FIREFLIES at the Sundance Theatre Lab, headed by Philip Himberg. Delighted to be reunited with director Phyllis Look, with whom I worked at Berkeley Rep many years ago, I joined Emily Kuroda and Dian Kobayashi in playing three Okinawan sisters who have settled in Hawaii and who must face a future of heartwrenching change. We all lived family-style in a huge three-story mountain cabin for three weeks—we called it our mountain chalet—hiking down daily to the Sundance camp, where we rehearsed and enjoyed the company of our fellow Sundance artists who were working on their new projects as well. Our final staged reading of FIREFLIES was a huge hit with our fellow artists, with much well-deserved praise for Daniel Akiyama—the first Hawaiian-born playwright to be accepted into Sundance.

One tremendous highlight of these past three weeks: meeting one of my theater idols, the incomparable Cherry Jones, also in the Sundance company. Also was excited to see the new work of composer Jeanine Tesori, with whom I worked on a show years ago at ACT in San Francisco. And needless to say, to be welcomed as a company by Robert Redford himself.

Check out Lia Chang’s article and photos on our Sundance experience. Thank you Daniel and Phyllis for the invite, and thank you Sundance Theatre Lab!

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