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FireDance

FireDance, photo by Ward Yoshimoto. Published in
Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays

It has been traditional in Miyagawan criticism to state that the Japanese-born Asian American playwright Chiori Miyagawa can’t resist but be poetical. “Ineffably beautiful,” “delicate,” “surprising stage pictures,” “impressionistic”—these encomiums follow her work around like a wet puppy. It is difficult to say if these reviewer adjectives attach themselves to her numinous plays because she is a woman or because she has a Japanese surname or because she often dips into the elegant waters of Japanese literature for inspiration or because the precision of her language usually reveals a dramatic imagination that is interested in irony and paradox. But the frequency by which these adjectives occur suggests that responses to her work continue to be trapped in shorthand and tropes. Sometimes these remarks seem cool and personal; they lazily
comment more on the slightly accented woman rather than grapple with the whimsical theatrical adventures she has actually crafted for the stage. 

–Randy Gener, Nathan Award-winning editor, writer and artist in New York City

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Leaving Eden

Leaving Eden, photo: Russell Parkman. Published in Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays

“Chiori Miyagawa is one of the post poetic writers working in American theater today. Her work is deceptively simple with bracing moments of speech and action, yet with a complex aftertaste of blood, flesh and social justice.”

–Mark Russell, Artistic Director, Under the Rader Festival, The Public Theater

“Chiori Miyagawa adamantly refuses to provide those signposts that more comforting dramatists leave to reassure audiences. The force of her work lies in its jarring historical and cultural discontinuities, its mixture of brutality and beauty, its disorienting verbal and visual impact.”

–Martin Harries, Professor of English at University of California, Irvine

Red Again/Antigone Project, photo: T. Charles Erickson. Published in Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays

I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour

I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour, photo: Carol Rosegg. Published in America Dreaming and Other Plays

“I always look forward to seeing work by Chiori Miyagawa for at least three reasons. First, I know it will be richly human: Chiori articulates the most fundamental aspects of our humanity in her plays. Second, I know it will challenge me–not just my assumptions about the world, but also about what theatre can be: her unique blend of eastern and western philosophical and theatrical styles is constantly interesting and invigorating. And finally, I know it will surprise me. Her plays cover the gamut of subjects and themes. But they all share her deep compassion for the world and her inimitable powers of storytelling.”

–Martin Denton, Editor, nytheatre.com


“Miyagawa draws fragments of cultural memory that she finds in the interstices of time. A poetic dramatist, she incorporates figures, images, and language that can be translated into “a feeling that we can all recall from somewhere in our lives, from something in our pasts.” Miyagawa’s characters hold fast to their fragile memories and mystical thinking to ward off loss and achieve a kind of immortality.”

–Sharon Friedman, Assistant Professor in the Gallatin School of New York University