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
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…