"Stand if you can crawl
Walk if you can stand"
Even thus harshly reared/trained at tender age
His love grew to glimpse 'Mom', after life-separation
I represented my employer in helping Misako Watanabe find theaters for her performances in Southern California in 1987. The request came a few months before her arrival, but I found it a terribly difficult task to find an open local theater where shows are usually booked a year or more in advance. On my first try, I could not find any San Diego theater available. I used friendly cultural connections to see if rigid rules could be bent. I had to meet theatrical managers or representatives in person. The language barrier was an issue as well. Throughout the play, Misako speaks close to 30,000 words in crude Japanese dialect quite rapidly. Even with English caption being shown, it was a challenge. Misako wanted to see the theater beforehand.
She was traveling with Chijinkai Troupe headed by Producer Koichi Kimura. At last, I was able to secure two theaters. One was the then Gas Lamp Theater, now reborn as the modern Lyceum at Horton Plaza. The Gas Lamp was an old, small theater with 100 seats. The other was the Carlsbad City Community Theater that had a few hundred seats. I believe she performed two nights in Carlsbad.
I read she fondly reminisced at her retirement of her cumulative 648 life performances, including those in France, Canada and US. While in Carlsbad, I took her to San Juan Capistrano for my favorite apple pie and coffee shop I used to frequent during my LAX-SD commute. I was glad she seemed so refreshed herself and enjoyed our casual drive together.
The play by Komatsuza is named Kesho and has two acts. However, there is a BIG change. Act One is performed by a female proprietor and Act 2 by a male proprietor. Good news was that Kesho was playing this weekend in Koga City, Fukuoka, just an hour away from Kitakyushu. The bad news was the tickets were all sold out.
P.S. - I recently found a book on my bookshelf – Misako Watanabe's book, "My Solo Trip, One Woman's Show". She autographed it for me as a memento of her San Diego stay. I saw that her book won the best essay prize in 1987 presented by the Japan Essayist Club.