A group of us here in Okinawa are working together to present an evening of theater and live performance as part of Theater Communications Group's benefit SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan. We're just at the initial stage, but there is a ton of very good energy already so I'm really excited to see how it will shape up.
Shinsai PSA from Suffolk Street Films on Vimeo.
This benefit we are doing will help rebuild the theater and artist communities in Tohoku that lost everything. It's a small faction, but the arts are an incredibly important element of the fabric that binds society together. I hope that this small gesture of solidarity through creative impulse will help.
I wrote two short 10-minute one act plays for this, though I think I will only show one (maybe). I didn't intend to do anything like this, but upon reading over some of the plays I was inspired. I guess I have been thinking about what happened last year for quite some time. Having lived so very physically far away from Tohoku, I didn't see anything that happened apart from catching it briefly on the news as it had just occurred. I actually was at a port on Kohama just about to take the ferry back when the earthquake hit. I remember seeing the television reports and hearing that it was an earthquake, so I suppose the tsunami had not yet occurred. While on the return ferry to Ishigaki, I got a call from J. He was very worried and had wanted to know where I was. Thankfully I had caught an early boat back around 3:15 instead of waiting another hour.
I can't imagine what it was like to have experienced an earthquake of that intensity and then, from some of the news report videos I have watched, to see how quickly the tsunami engulfed whole towns and communities on the coast is just heartbreaking. I mean, many of the people in those videos more than likely did not survive. I keep thinking about what I can do, even a year later. I promised myself last year that I would go up to Tohoku to volunteer in the clean up and I think I'm going to do it this spring. We weren't allowed to go up there originally due to insurance reasons, but I think we are now.
Right now though the least we can do on March 11th is to remember the lives of the people lost and those who have continued to suffer tremendously without homes, without families or friends or loved ones. To think about those communities who were directly affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster and who continue to be in danger from it. It's not something that can easily be forgotten. I think about it very often, to be honest. These tremendous disasters can happen everywhere and at any time.
We have to count our blessings. We have to be grateful.