War Bride Examines Mis-conceptions

From l, Brett Fleisher, Julia Sanford, and Sachiyo K in “War Bride.”

Bringing a Japanese bride home to Californiaafter the end of World War II ignites old fears and prejudices in SkyPilot Theatre’s fine presentation of War Bride. The original play features excellent acting and production work as it examines what it means to be family and how to connect with each other.

Catherine Rhodes (Julia Sanford) eagerly awaits her soldier son Alvin’s (Brett Fleisher) arrival inMercedafter World War II. He brings an unexpected Japanese bride Yumi (Sachiyo K) with him, and suffers from an eye injury, which he will not discuss. Catherine suffers racist fears of the young woman, but gradually decides to learn to communicate with her. What secrets and ghosts will be revealed?

Director Nancy Dobbs Owen creates a moving piece of theater through the combination of fine acting, production work, and symbolism. She inspires moving performances from her actors.Sanford’s sarcastic front gradually softens into a soft vulnerability. Jeffrey Markle brings warm humor and steadfastness to station master Richard Lindstrom. Sachiyo K speaks volumes through her agonizing Japanese interjections.

Owen injects deep emotional symbolism into the play with her use of the Japanese movement of dance called butoh, which conveys the horrors behind Yumi’s unspoken words. Wes Chew’s excellent lighting design and Matt Richter’s fine sound design add a sense of foreboding and fear. Zachary B. Guiller’s claustrophobic farmhouse set reveals how trapped the family is because of lack of communication.

War Bride emotionally examines the hidden scars that destroy human souls.

SkyPilot Theatre presents War Bride Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through Sept. 16 at T. U. Studios located at 10943 Camarillo St. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $20. Call or visit SKYPILOTTHEATRE.com to purchase tickets.

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