Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Guardians s of Wonder at McCadden Place in Hollywood


Mizuki Kimura, Shio Yamazaki, Rena Kaneta, Stella Takasegawa, Emika Kamieda
Photograph by Bertha Rodriguez

Technical difficulties make the posting of this review almost impossible. However the craft and focus of this show's short run is impressive.  Hopefully it will get an audience. 

Please  see this show. 

I'm vamping now, it's a day later and the show is still a sort of wonderful jumble in my head.  

It's Hollywood Fringe Festival time. This means that every little space anywhere near Theatre Row is booked & double & triple booked for wannbe playwrights, producers, actors. Audiences are flooded with opportunities to see new Theatre.  

"Guardians of Wonder" features five amazing actresses; some rolling screens;  an adorable hostess who translates from Japanese to English.  Gurardians comes from Tokyo.  They'd planned to come a couple of years ago, but the dampanic made a mess of that.  Okay.. what is it? 

Take a bit of Kabuki.. no Noh that I know;  add  Japanese folk lore and   Kurasawa's take on samurai; stir in dangerously beautiful and talented women with weapons of personal destruction.  Factor in swords and knives and a wicked umbrella to faciliate the action. It is a very short program that tells of the metamorphosis of a shy young woman in pigtails who changes. And! There are the women whom you don't want to get upset!!  There is a kiss.

I've longed to see theatre dedicated beyond words.  This one has no words. It works!

The performance is short.  The stunts are studied and formal. The costumes are beautiful and ..well.. formal.. the delivery is delicious. I am unsure that  I could describe the story. It really doesn't matter. The presentation is so unusual, it's as much like visiting an art gallery as watching a show.

   The beauty of Guardians of Wonder is that we arrive at the tiny McCadden with no real expectations except the gorgeous poster art that is part Samurai and part Manga!  Indeed some of the special effects echo panels in manga graphic novels.

The performance is a little wooden, but because we have no idea what's going on, we take that as part of the show.  The actresses are beautiful and skilled in movement, part of a company of players, directed by Hiroshi Hosokawa.

Admission is free and actually very short. We experience the performance and a Q and A. The artists are translated by the lovely hostess all together it runs about an hour. There is an air of something special about the presentation: the individuality of the artists, the costumes (terrific) and the action..  

In the Q & A we meet the artists. They talk about the show and their characters. Each of the five women is unique. When they talk about their experience, even though it's mostly in Japanese, it's clear that the energy for the piece is deep within them. The bottom line is that I was thoroughly charmed by the energy of the evening.

For a completely unique and unexpected step into the East, go see Guardians.. It's a trip.

There will be two more performances. Admission is free, but reservations are necesssary. Tonight's house was full and a crowd was waiting outside for the next performance.   Check the times below and arrive early, as the parking in the neighborhood is a little tough.

Why spend an hour with Guardians? Because it's like nothing you've seen and the residual appreciation for how other cultures approach theatre will stay with you for a long time. 


Presented by Alicein Project.  

Produced by Masahiro Suzuki. Directed by Hiroshi Hosokawa. Written by Rena Kaneta. Choreography by Rena Kaneta. Lighting by Daisuke Sakakibara. Video/Sound Effects by Kaworu Asakusa. Photography by Kentaro Yamagishi. Starring: Emika Kamieda, Rena Kaneta, Mizuki Kimura, Stella Takasegawa and Shio Yamazaki.

1157 N. McCadden

Hollywood, CA  90038

Saturday June 3, 2023  8PM

Sunday, June 4, 2023  7:30PM

Friday June 9  6PM

Saturday June 10 9:30PM

TICKETS:  Free Admission reserve tickets @  The Hollywood Fringe Festival - the guardians of wonder



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