When you’re young, lectures that contain words like “heritage” and “tradition” are instantly written off. Because, seriously, what kid cares about cultural practices unless they involve monster trucks or gunfights?
That’s the dilemma faced by the elderly protagonist of Sakura no Ne (Root of the Cherry Tree), on stage through Sunday, April 22, at Theater Works. The world premiere production uses taiko drumming, martial arts, and images of Phoenix’s Japanese Friendship Garden to tell the story of a gardener who teaches two seemingly disinterested youth about Japanese culture.
Despite a lack of spoken dialogue, director Dominik Rebilas hopes that the message conveyed to the children will translate for audiences. “It is with the strongest of roots within one’s own culture and within oneself that allows the most beautiful blossoms to bloom,” he says.