Team Sunshine makes comedy from tragedy

Team Sunshine rehearses for the show.  Credit: Ryan Collard
Team Sunshine rehearses for the show.
Credit: Ryan Collard

Whether glued to the television during the pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects or moved by the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, most of us can sympathize with Makoto Hirano’s feelings as he watched the March 2011 disaster in Japan unfold from half a world away: “There’s something huge and sad happening in the world right now and I can’t do anything about it, but I can totally watch it in HD.”

The ability to experience the world’s calamities in real time is at the root of “JapanAmerica Wonderwave,” the new comedic dance-theater show from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation. The company consists of Hirano, Benjamin Camp and Alex Torra, who all met while working with Philly’s Pig Iron Theatre Company — and who share that company’s love of physicality and blending the cerebral and the silly.

“We challenge each other just right,” Hirano says. “We push each other’s buttons, but we’re really just three sensitive dudes in a room making art and within 10 minutes of getting into a super-heated fight, we’re thankful that we got into that fight. Somehow it works.” Team Sunshine’s core trio rotate taking the lead on projects, and Hirano’s turn came just as Japan was thrust into the headlines.

For Hirano, who was born in Japan but left for the States when he was only four months old, the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown felt both terribly close and impossibly distant. “This thing was happening that I’m so connected to yet feels so far away,” he says. “With digital media, we can see tragedies happening on the other side of the planet and feel worse, but we have no tools to make ourselves feel better.”

One tool that Hirano found was dance, which enabled him to find some joy in a show about profoundly dark themes. “Dancing is fun, dancing is beautiful, and dancing is something that can save the world,” he says, laughing. “I would never say that out loud in a large group, but it’s something that I secretly believe. In our age, art-makers can’t look at anything without irony shades on, so it makes me feel great to believe that someone can go around the planet and dance and make people happy.”

 

If you go

“JapanAmerica Wonderwave”
May 2-12
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
$10-$60
www.teamsunshineperformance.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.