Looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon or evening? The gloom has already set the stage for Centerstage’s noir-genre, “Yellow Fever” by Rick Shiomi.
It’s spring, 1973. Vancouver, B.C. Japantown. When the Cherry Blossom Queen goes missing, Sam Shikaze, detective, is on the case. With the unwanted help of spunky news reporter Nancy Wing, Sam begins to unravel a plot … a plot more devious than he could have imagined.
“Yellow Fever” has all the classic hallmarks of a good noir detective story: intrigue, drama and wit. But it also provides a glimpse into a myriad of struggles faced by the Japanese community after being released from internment camps after World War II. Many of these struggles continued for decades. These issues are artfully explored through Sam’s relationships with other characters both inside and outside of his neighborhood. Even though “Yellow Fever” takes place in 1973, the themes presented, unfortunately, are still timely today.
The sepia-toned set and 1970s costume immediately transports the audience into a rare noir world. Tim Takechi has impeccable timing as the dry, hardboiled detective, Sam Shikaze. Anamaria Guerzon is convincing as the persistent and pesky news reporter, Nancy Wing. Van Lang Pham, who plays Chuck Chan, has great comedic timing as does Travis Martinez, who plays Goldberg. Minki Bai as Capt. Kadota, Graham Arthur Blair as Sgt. Mackenzie, and Daniel J. Lacker as Superintendent Jameson, all deliver powerful as well as comical performances. Aya Hashiguchi Clark is so believable as the sweet restaurant owner, Rosie — it’s hard to imagine her as anyone else.
To complete the noir experience, order a cocktail in the lobby. The concoctions are made with spirits from family-owned Blackfish Spirits Distillery located in Auburn. The Detective Gin and Tonic is made with Blackfish Distillery Black Lemon Gin and The Noir is made with Blackfish Chocolate Liqueur, Blackfish Vodka, and an optional splash of cream. While sipping your drinks, be sure to read the posters in the lobby about the Japanese encampments in North America as well as Rick Shiomi, author of “Yellow Fever.” Beer and wine are also available along with soft drinks and snacks.
“Yellow Fever” runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through June 12. If you aren’t able to see the show live, you can view a virtual showing. Tickets for both in-person and virtual shows are available at CenterstageTheatre.com.
Laura Barfield has worked in early childhood education and has been published in multiple issues of Kids Imagination Train. She also has a theater background in both acting and directing. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, two sons, and one labradoodle.