Failure Sandwich

by Aya Ogawa

(2017/18 BAX Artist In Residence)

Failure Sandwich by Aya Ogawa

Friday & Saturday, June 15-16, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

General Seating, Sliding Scale: $20 / $15 / $10 [here]

Drae Campbell (performer)
Ayesha Jordan (performer)
Kristine Haruna Lee ­ (performer)
Saori Tsukada (performer)

Jian Jung (set design)
Rich Kim (sound advisor)
Elizabeth Mak (assistant director)
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (lighting design)

In November of 2016, just a few days after the presidential election, Aya embarked on an open-ended exploration around the theme of failure with a rotating group of artist collaborators and audiences. The group met weekly to share and examine what they considered their failures in life — from career missteps to infertility, failures we inherited, errors in judgment in our youth, and conversations that inadvertently exposed our unconscious prejudices.

With permission from the original story-tellers, Aya kept experimenting with content and form over the next year. The participating actors played with shifting from the first person to third and back again — shifting from the past tense to conditional perfect — shifting who was narrating and who was enacting/embodying mid-story. Audience members would be cast as protagonists in stories and read lines out loud, addressing other audience members.  In the telling and retelling of these personal stories, and in playing with the shifting placement of narrative on top of a group of people, something revelatory would happen in the room — a kind of catharsis, a radical act of empathy and waves of forgiveness rippling through the space.

Soon the project naturally evolved to center around what Aya considers one of the greatest failures in her life. FAILURE SANDWICH is an autobiographical, interactive performance that tracks Aya Ogawa’s relationship with her father through his life and beyond his death. Darkly humorous and humorously dark, the play explores how we inherit failure and what it takes to forgive ourselves and each other.


Artist Bio

Aya Ogawa is a Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and translator for the theater. She challenges traditional notions of the American aesthetic and identity by creating plays infused with a multiplicity of perspectives and languages, and by incorporating influences from outside the U.S. – of style, form, and content.

She wrote and directed oph3lia at HERE (hailed by The New York Times as “great theater”); Journey to the Ocean, commissioned by The Foundry Theatre; and most recently Ludic Proxy, commissioned by The Play Company, which the NY Theatre Review described as “enchanting and poetic, deeply in tune with the spirit of many different cultures.” Next season she will be directing Kristine Haruna Lee’s Suicide Forest at The Bushwick Starr.

She has translated numerous Japanese plays into English, including works by Toshiki Okada, Yudai Kamisato and Satoko Ichihara, among others. Her translations have been described as “fluid and delicious” by American Theatre Magazine, published by Samuel French among others, and produced in the U.S. and U.K.

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