Back for its third run, ZOTTO (an original work by Japanese Arts Network, Theatre Artibus, and Luster Productions - produced and presented with the help of Control Group Productions and Starry Night Productions) was an emotional and educational immersive experience about connecting with our ancestors and confronting painful family and local history. Bucharest Inside the Beltway had the great opportunity to see the show during its third run (it had sold out the previous two runs!) and speak with the creative artist at the helm of this important effort: Courtney Ozaki. Weaving together Japanese folk characters with the real-life story of Japanese-Americans in Denver, Ozaki and her collaborators brought the historic downtown Denver Sakura Square to life by taking the audience through a maze of rooms filled with imagination and testimony. Throughout the experience, we learned about the mass deportations of Japanese-Americans to internment camps in the West during World War II, and how many then settled in Colorado following the war because Colorado (in stark contrast to Wyoming) welcomed them. That said the community had to start from scratch and for so many families this painful history was buried. The show culminated in a startling honest and compelling oral history presented by Joyce Uriko Cole about her parents who survived the camps and the inherited trauma she has lived with and overcome through personal strength and the support of her loved ones. BiB was truly honored to be present in what felt very much like a sacred space. Congratulations to Cole, Ozaki, and the ZOTTO creative team on what was truly a "BEST OF" immersive Denver theatre event!
Play Synopsis: Igbo class is a safe space for Black students at Texas Light University. When that class becomes the backdrop of a viral video of an intense argument between Faith, a Black American Senior and Uchenna, a Nigerian American graduate student, the divide between the African community and the Black American community on campus is pushed to the forefront. In order to alleviate her campus' issues, Dean Thompson assigns Faith and Uchenna a mandatory project that will seek to connect the members of the Black community... if only they can put aside their differences long enough to create it. In this funny, ensemble-driven love story, We Both Suck Our Teeth explores the division and unity within the African diaspora.