Flipping through the Fringe guide, “The Wind Telephone” caught my eye.
The synopsis started off…”A grieving Japanese man builds a phone booth in his garden to talk with his dead cousin…” (hmmm, that stirred up some interesting images). But the last line was the clincher for me: “An exploration of life, loss and spirituality.” (Spiritual stuff fascinates me).
The one person play was written and performed by Edmonton native Adam Keefe.
Adam took to the stage and talked about a triple tragedy which affected the city of Otsuchi, Japan in 2011. The town of 70,000 was hit with an earthquake and tsunami which caused a nuclear meltdown. Fifteen thousand people were killed in the ensuing devastation.
Word got out about the above mentioned fellow’s telephone booth. He had built the booth as a way to deal with his grief.
Some 10,000 people have visited and used the spiritual phone line in the first three years after the tragic events.
Adam’s portrayal of the grieving people talking on the phone with their deceased loved ones was nothing short of amazing. The emotions and tears he shed were very real (and incredibly moving). He even discussed the different stages people go through when losing a loved one.
At the end of the play he offered to speak with anyone who wanted to talk about the play. He also told the audience that if they liked the play to tell their friends (fairly typical banter at the end of most plays), but if they didn’t like the play to “call your friends on a disconnected phone,” (like the one used in the play).
Well, I enjoyed it so much that I’m not going to use a disconnected phone to tell people about it but through my disconnected computer (attached to wifi of course). The play was not only very well written and acted out but also delivered a very profound message offering very practical advice and help on the grieving process.
Throughout the play I thought I was watching a fictional piece, but when I spoke with Adam after he told me it was based on a true story. I was blown away.
To read about the inspiration for this play, Google “Kaze no denwa” (Japanese for Telephone of the Wind).
Venue 9: Eckhardt Grammatte Hall
(U of W), 515 Portage Avenue)
July 27 @ 4:30pm
July 28 @9:15pm
July 30 @ 2:15pm
All photos by Doug Kretchmer