Japan Society’s Play Reading Series Picks Up with COOKING UP

Cooking Up

Monday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m. with artist Q&A

Japan Society – 333 East 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)

Admission: $15/$10 Japan Society members

Japan Society presents the 16th installment of its annual play reading series, Contemporary Japanese Plays in English Translation. The series introduces topical plays from emerging playwrights from Japan to artists and audiences in the U.S.

Written by Japanese playwright Shoko Matsumura, Cooking Up is one of the 2018 finalists for the Kishida Kunio Drama Award, Japan’s most prestigious award for contemporary plays. Brooklyn-based director Jordana De La Cruz leads the production. Japan Society’s Performing Arts Department Program Officer Amanda Waddell translated the play (Japanese title: Koshiraeru) into English.

Initially scheduled for March 30, 2020, this staged reading was postponed due to the COIVD-19 pandemic. It is now part of Japan Society’s Fall 2021 season celebrating NYC-based women artists with deep ties to the culture of Japan. To purchase tickets, please visit Japan Society’s website or the Box Office at 212-715-1258.

Cooking Up (c) Illustration by Fumika Saga

About Cooking Up

The real and the surreal come together at a small French restaurant in Japan in Cooking Up. The play takes an unusual turn when the head chef’s wife asks her husband’s mistress to join their household, taking the place of their beloved house cat, who has gone missing.

De La Cruz, Co-Director of the OBIE Award-winning performance venue JACK in Brooklyn, directs this absurd sojourn into the private lives of the restaurant’s employees. Matsumura will join De La Cruz in a post-performance Q&A with the audience.

COVID-19 Protocols

In compliance with CDC, New York State, and New York City guidelines, visitors must show proof of vaccination. Visitors must also wear a proper, secure-fitting mask at each performance. View Japan Society’s current visitor policies and safety protocols here.

Shoko Matsumura © Hitomi Kaneko

About Shoko Matsumura

Shoko Matsumura is a director and playwright born in Yokohama in 1984. Since she was a teenager, she has appeared in small theaters, or shogekijo, in Tokyo. After her initial performance in Toshiki Okada’s solo play On the Harmful Effects of Marijuana (Marifana no gai ni tsuite), she has acted in many of the playwright/director’s plays for his theater company chelfitsch.  Other theater companies with whom she has worked include Okazaki Art Theatre, Yuenchi Saisei Jigyo-dan, Gessyoku Kagekidan, and Potsudo-ru.

She founded the theatrical troupe Momeraths in 2013, where she started writing and directing her own work. The name of the troupe was taken from a fictional creature in Lewis Carrol’s nonsensical poem “Jabberwocky.” She specializes in realistic plays with colloquial language that contain abstract side stories running alongside the main narrative. Her plays create chaotic worlds in which the everyday and absurdism exist side by side.

Matsumura is a recipient of the Execellent Direction Award and Audience Award at TOGA Theatre Artists’ Competition in 2017. She is a two-time finalist for the prestigious Kishida Kunio Award for Drama.

Jordana De La Cruz © Sammy Tunis

About Jordana De La Cruz

Jordana De La Cruz is an Afro-Latina director, curator, and creative producer. She collaborates with active participants across multiple generations to examine and dismantle the stigmas that hold society captive. She creates performances, gatherings, and public programs sparking cross-cultural dialogue, empowering individuality, and expanding the concept of community with theatrical responses, workshops, and interdisciplinary conversations. Her work continually questions what it means to be free and, more urgently, how we help each other achieve this freedom.

In 2015, she was instrumental in the creation of Public Programs at Park Avenue Armory and has continued to cultivate affordable, community-focused art and dialogue. She has previously directed and produced with JACK, La Mama, The Flea Theater, IATI Theater, INTAR Theatre, The Story Pirates, and Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, among others.