(Mainichi Japan) November 23, 2011
One-person play by actress brings voices of disaster victims to wider audience

When I saw a one-person play about earthquake and tsunami evacuees by actress "mic" during a charity event this past summer, I felt my spirits lightened.

The actress played the roles of three disaster victims -- elderly and middle-aged women who lost their homes to the tsunami that followed the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and a fisherman who had resolved to continue his work.

The play was held at an evacuation shelter on the Oshika Peninsula in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, one month after the disasters.

Though the ways the three speak is stooped in sorrow, their Tohoku dialect always sounds gentle.

"mic, don't hesitate to come back here when things are hard," one of them said.

The three are not fictional characters.

The actress says she reproduced the words of three people she actually met at a shelter.

In a survey after the performance, many members of the audience said they felt they had directly heard voices of the disaster-hit residents that are not reported by news organizations.

Even though the play was done by one person, the dialogue seemed to the audience like the disaster victims' real voices.

About 10 years ago, mic was in a car accident and fought for her life.

It happened after she had made up her mid to be an actress following her graduation from university.
In her mind, the massive damage that the disasters caused to many people in the Tohoku region may have shared similarities with her harrowing experience a decade ago.

"I was so shaken (after the March disasters), I couldn't do my job at all," mic recalls.

While repeatedly visiting the evacuation shelter where the three were staying, their lives took root in her mind as a story.

Furthermore, the actress's parents' home in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, was damaged by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995.

She says her mother says, "I never forget the taste of boiled potatoes I got from volunteers at the time."

Those volunteers were from the Tohoku region.

The actress will perform the play at a hall in Kobe on the evening of Nov. 26.

She believes that Kobe residents will understand the feelings of evacuees from the Oshika Peninsula, and hopes that she can return the favor to Tohoku people for extending relief to Kobe quake victims 16 years ago.

Proceeds from 3,000-yen admission fees for her Kobe performance will be fully donated to disaster-hit areas.

(By Takahiro Takino, Tokyo City News Department)

毎日新聞 2011年11月16日 東京朝刊