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November 7 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
RIVER ISLAND (literal translation of “Kawashima”) is an in-development devised operatic piece that draws inspiration from the enigmatic life of Kawashima Yoshiko. Born a Manchu royal, raised in Japan, and endowed with the destiny of reestablishing the Qing Dynasty, Yoshiko was known for their multiple personas and various portraits: the Manchu Princess, the Japanese Spy, the Military Leader, the Chinese Traitor. They also used their multifaceted identity to their advantage in their military and spy career during WWII to express their cultural and gender fluidity throughout their life (identifying as both Chinese and Japanese, man and woman).Through the intersectional lens of Yoshiko’s lived experience, this operatic piece will examine themes of gender, sexuality, queerness, culture (Chinese and Japanese), racialization, and the erasure of those identities because of Western imperialism.
Project Container: Set in fictional 1930s Shanghai during the violence of war and revolution, the various memories and echoes of Yoshiko will once again inhabit the ruins of the historic Majestic Hotel. Using the dance hall as a backdrop and as a container of music and dance that were prevalent in this era (opera, shidaiqu, American jazz fusion) we will explore the struggles amongst the many identities of Yoshiko and how their multiple personas of Yoshiko were able to coexist.