“and the soul shall dance” by Wakako Yamauchi


My mom showed me how to act drunk for my first play (college like sophomore year maybe?). The play was “And the Soul Shall Dance” and the character was miserable, over-the-top, physically abused, and drunk a lot — I had never drank alcohol before so I had no idea what I was doing (I had never acted before, so I had no idea what I was doing). I still remember her jumping immediately into when I asked her my question. She bugged her eyes out and stumbled around our dining room. I couldn’t stop laughing. despite all her anxiety and ingrained misery, she has this weird, impish sense of humor that comes out all the time, often when she doesn’t know it.

The other ridiculous parts of the show: it was an all asian cast and there were no asian actors who were visible at that time (why? seems weird, but okay) so a lot of us were recruited to audition despite having no previous experience by this lovely, sweet intentioned caucasian fellow who sought us out and I think is now a lawyer. The guy who played my abusive husband would drink hot sauce every night to try to make his voice husky. When his character slapped mine, I’d dive behind a table to put on bruise makeup around my eye and I always like painted two thirds of my face dark purple — like something so disproportionate to the slap. and then the play ended with me going crazy by running off stage into the courtyard screaming.

We performed in a dining hall so we had to reset furniture and move the salad bar every night. A completely fun experience. But what I happened to remember today was my mom’s acting lesson.

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