Studio Visit

6:30–8pm / Oct 5 / Elebash Hall

Suicide Forest

Kristine Haruna Lee & Aya Ogawa

Photo (left) by Sasha Arutyunova. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Studio Visits are evening-length hybrid performance events, offering audiences a multi-angled view of the featured artist and their craft. Each Studio Visit includes an introduction by the artist, a presentation of new work-in-process, a critical response essay by a guest artist, and a Q&A. The guest artist for this Studio Visit is Diep Tran.


Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity. In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche. Both are clawing for their self-worth. When their two journeys collide, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame as they now confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.

Aya Ogawa is a Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and translator for the theater. She challenges traditional notions of the American aesthetic and identity by creating plays infused with a multiplicity of perspectives and languages, and experimenting with form.

Kristine Haruna Lee was born in Hong Kong, raised between Tokyo and Seattle, and is now a Brooklyn-based theater maker whose work navigates non-linear playwriting, the practice and performance of auto-theory, and the construction of visually rich performance landscapes that she constructs with her company harunalee.

Together, they have been developing Suicide Forest written by Lee and directed by Ogawa since 2016, where they collaborated for the first time as part of The Bushwick Starr Reading Series. Since then, Lee has also worked on Ogawa’s play Failure Sandwich which will be presented as part of this year’s Under the Radar’s Incoming! Series. Suicide Forest will receive its world premiere at The Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company in February 2019.

Diep Tran is currently the senior editor of American Theatre magazine. She has a monthly column with the magazine focused on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She is also a freelance journalist, whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, Playbill, CNN, Hello Giggles, and Salon, among other publications. Diep has a bachelor’s in English and Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her master’s degree in arts journalism from the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University. In 2015, she was a critic fellow at the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

World Premiere of Suicide Forest at The Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company, February – March 2019;
Suicide Culture & its Influences on Artists (Lecture) at Japan Society, Wednesday, January 23, 7:30pm;

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