I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour

This theatrical deconstruction of the classic film is awfully flat.

  • SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY De la Fuente and Francis-Kelly cuddle uneasily;...

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY De la Fuente and Francis-Kelly cuddle uneasily;...

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5

We have been promised certain things. We were assured that a generation steeped in TV and marinated with the Internet would devise its own storytelling methods. So why do we keep getting dry, well-intentioned experimental efforts like Chiori Miyagawa’s I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour?

What must have seemed, in the planning stages, like an audacious reworking of the 1959 Alain Resnais film, fails depressingly on all fronts. Miyagawa borrows from the Marguerite Duras screenplay—a star-crossed story of a French woman falling for a Japanese man—and then pans beyond the frame, showing us the relationships left out of Resnais’s storytelling. This results in a clamor of voices, including modern-day deconstructions (“I think it’s politically questionable”) and commentary from one of Hiroshima’s dead. The project is interesting; Miyagawa’s problem is entirely in execution. The playwright doesn’t solve—or really address—the transition between media, and thus the doomed love affair so gorgeously melodramatic on screen bloats into absurdity.

The script is confused and unstimulating, but it is made far worse by director Jean Wagner’s awkward staging. We pity the beautiful Juliana Francis-Kelly and Joel de la Fuente, but only because they stand stranded inside a cage of screens, eclipsed by Hap Tivey’s desultory video design. A piece about Hiroshima—a place where shadows were literally burnt into buildings—deserves more than a screen saver image of grass and a still shot of a movie set. But Tivey, like the others, fails to extract even one drift of poetry from all that terrifying ash.—Helen Shaw

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Ohio Theatre. By Chiori Miyagawa. Dir. Jean Wagner. With ensemble cast. 1hr 15mins. No intermission.