Baaba's Footsteps

‘Packs a lot of ideas in its hour running time, which flies by’: BAABA’S FOOTSTEPS – Online Fringe Festival (Online review)

In London theatre, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Michael DavisLeave a Comment

The Coronavirus lockdown has led to a growing number of established theatres streaming shows online for free. For UK theatre companies that work on the Fringe, they are able to do the same for a limited period on Onlinefringefestival.com. It launched with seven shows to watch and more are added each week.

In Baaba’s Footsteps… There has always been a pressure on women since time immemorial to be married by a certain age (ideally to a man with means or prospects) and somewhere down the line, to have children. While these tenets of ‘womanhood’ have been eroded in the West over the past 70+ years, in some societies such notions are very much alive…

Susan Hingley + Honey-Tongued Theatre Productions’ Baaba’s Footsteps examines the life of Yu (Eyre Kurasawa) a 39-year-old television producer in Tokyo, who reaches a crossroads in her life. Dismissed from her job for having an ‘inappropriate relationship’ (yet still being coerced by her employers into accepting a matchmade marriage) Yu puts some distance between recent events by travelling to San Francisco to visit a relative. There she stumbles across a second diary belonging to her great grandmother, back when she was a 16-year-old ‘picture bride’…

Without being didactic, the play draws parallels between the two women and the disparity between expectations in ‘courtship’ versus reality. As Yu’s story is set in early 2020, during the cusp of COVID-19 outbreak, the play conveys the distrust that those of East Asian descent have experienced from some quarters. We also see how during the Second World War, xenophobia was even more pronounced in the U.S. and the internment camps that were set up for citizens of Japanese descent. The ‘taboo’ subject of assimilating a Western appearance and identity is also addressed – a response from some ethnic groups to ‘fit in’ more readily.

Baaba’s Footsteps packs a lot of ideas in its hour running time, which flies by. Far from being just a niche tale about familial connections, the play’s intersectionality provides greater depth in the questions and answers it broaches.

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Michael Davis
Michael Davis is a former actor and director. He’s passionate about fringe theatre and publicising shows that don’t necessarily receive mainstream attention. He’s previously reviewed for Female Arts and The Play’s the Thing and now runs his own site, Breaking the Fourth Wall. Michael is interested and knowledgeable about all aspects of the arts. He tweets @Michael30517721.
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Michael Davis on RssMichael Davis on Twitter
Michael Davis
Michael Davis is a former actor and director. He’s passionate about fringe theatre and publicising shows that don’t necessarily receive mainstream attention. He’s previously reviewed for Female Arts and The Play’s the Thing and now runs his own site, Breaking the Fourth Wall. Michael is interested and knowledgeable about all aspects of the arts. He tweets @Michael30517721.

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