Naomi Iizuka's Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West has generated a lot of ink devoted to the fine art of tattooing. In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Robert Hurwitt noticed that, in addition to Strange Devices, several other current Bay Area shows are also grappling with depicting tattooed characters on stage.
Here's his behind-the-tat peek into the Strange Devices process:
The art covering actor Johnny Wu is a two-piece bodysuit collaboration between Maggi Yule's costume shop at the Rep and a film effects studio in Los Angeles. The interlocking lovers' tattoos — which combine to form one image when bodies press together — were finalized by tattoo artist Amanda Gonzalez and transferred to body stockings worn by the actors onstage and to their bodies on video.
And while we're on the subject of the Chronicle and Strange Devices, the paper ran a fantastic interview with playwright Naomi Iizuka, also by Mr. Hurwitt.
When asked how her background has influenced her use of cultures in her work, Naomi answered:
I think in ways that are more unconscious than conscious. I was born in Japan and spent my early childhood in different parts of Asia and in Amsterdam for a while. We came to the U.S. in '72, to the Washington, D.C., area, when I was school age.
My father's Japanese and my mother's half Spanish, half Cuban, but I grew up in a household where we spoke English. I learned about my family in bits and pieces. There are things that still peek out in the telling, like my father's sister will tell me something he neglected. I think you find out about the mysteries of your origins in unexpected ways.
Above photo: Playwright Naomi Iizuka. Photo by Mike Kepka, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.