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Art by Jason Simon

Token Theatre Friends: Kristine Haruna Lee Takes Us Inside the Suicide Forest

On this week’s episode, the Friends talk about Japanese American identity, review Fiasco’s ‘Merrily We Roll Along,’ and talk about trying to date when you see four shows a week.

Twice a month on the Token Theatre Friends video series and podcast, theatre critics (and theatre besties) Jose Solís and Diep Tran bring a POC perspective to the performing arts. This week they talk to playwright/performer Kristine Haruna Lee about her new play Suicide Forest (at the Bushwick Starr Feb. 27-March 23), which deals with identity and gender in 1990s Japan. Lee talks about working with her mother (who plays one of the characters in the show), the mentorship she’s found with African American women, and the importance of connecting with her heritage through her work.

The audio of the interview is also available on the podcast, where the Friends review three shows currently playing in New York City:

Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre through April 7 ($99-$119). Fiasco Theatre Company takes on one of Sondheim’s most polarizing musicals, chronicling 25 years in the lives of three friends. But does this pared-down production fix the issues many have with the show?

The Trial of the Catonsville Nine by Fr. Daniel Berrigan at Abrons Arts Center through Feb. 23 ($60). Inspired by a real-life case, this unusual courtroom drama about an anti-Vietnam War protest, last seen in New York more than three decades ago, features a cast of three Asian American actors playing over a dozen characters.

Good Friday by Kristina Rae Colón at the Flea through March 18 ($17-$32). When violence erupts in a college campus, a group of female students must reevaluate their own views on gender and race, while trying to stay alive. 

Download the podcast episode here.

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Have comments, suggestions for segments, shows to plug, or thoughts on how the Friends can be even better? Contact the Token Theatre Friends via email or Twitter.

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