The World Premiere of Forgiveness at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is a moving story of Forgiveness, that won’t soon be forgotten.
A co-production with Theatre Calgary, Hiro Kanagawa’s adaptation of Mark Sakamoto’s acclaimed memoir Forgiveness: A Gift From My Grandparents brings a whole range of emotions to the stage. Just like life, Forgiveness moves from heartfelt, to harrowing, to heroic and at times, hilarious.
Telling the parallel stories of Sakamoto’s grandparents; Ralph McLean (Griffin Cork), his maternal grandfather, a young Canadian soldier from the Magdalen Islands, keen to enlist and help Canada’s war effort, who spent years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Mitsue Sakamoto, (Yoshie Bancroft) Mark’s paternal grandmother, was one of the thousands of Japanese Canadians forced out of their homes and communities in coastal British Columbia to internment camps and work programs. Many Canadians know of these stories, but through Forgiveness Mark Sakamoto allows those who don’t have direct family connections to share in his family’s personal story to learn and love the resilience of the Greatest Generation.
Lead by Cork and Bancroft’s strong performances onstage for every moment, the brilliant cast of Forgiveness takes the audiences across over several decades, showing us three generations of Sakamoto’s relatives as their lives shift from contented communities to fractured families and wartime want, before moving on to find a harmonious connection as they rebuild and create a new community and family. Shifting between eras keeps the audience on their toes, but thanks to Kanagawa’s adaptation under Stafford Arima’s direction, and the adaptive set, staging and lighting from Pam Johnson, John Webber and Joshua D. Reid and especially the creative videos and animations by Cindy Mochizuki the times and places are secured in audiences’ minds. The animations literally stamp places and times, but also allow for the stage and set to be a blank canvas to take us there by showing what’s not there.
These easy transitions back and forth along the timeline also keeps the play’s emotions balanced. What could be an overwhelmingly heavy period throughout the middle of family’s journey is instead broken into manageable bites as we reach across their overall timeline, to see their future, even finding breaks of humour along the way.
You won’t forgive yourself if you miss out on taking this emotional journey with the company of Forgiveness at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 12, 2023. Find showtimes, details and tickets online at artsclub.com