Review Fix chats with Aileen Kyoko who discusses ‘The Year of the Solar Eclipse’ and what’s like to be a part of the 10th anniversary season of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity at the Theaters at the Clemente.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Aileen Kyoko: Around the time of the solar eclipse I had a major life change and heartbreak occur. When I was watching the eclipse, there was a sense of relief that came over me. It felt like a reminder that we are always in cycles in our lives- the dark times and the light times. It served as an encouragement that I needed to ride the natural waves of life and trust there were brighter days ahead. At the same time I quickly knew I wanted to write a script. As I went through a rollercoaster of experiences the next few months I paid attention to the themes and stories that were coming up. Then it was a combination between these themes and my imagination that led to The Year of the Solar Eclipse.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Kyoko: As a writer I absolutely must be tuned in to the scene I am writing emotionally. I cannot work without music. Certain songs help me be part of the scene and paint the world I am imagining. Ideally, I need to be in an environment that feels inspiring too- a cool coffee shop, a hotel lobby or in my room with lots of plants! As a director, I aim to create a safe, collaborative and creative environment. We start every rehearsal with a meditation to help the actors relax and get present.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Kyoko: You don’t always see truly contemporary and relatable plays- and this production is 100% that! It’s also quite naturalistic and I’m excited to bring this style to the stage.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Kyoko: I’m still growing as an artist on every level but I’ve learned so much about trusting your voice creatively. When you put something out there it’s always going to have your unique voice and finding it and honing it is such a process! Also, as a leader it’s a balance between trusting yourself but also listening to the other very talented people around you. This play couldn’t happen without the amazing cast and crew.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Kyoko: The goal is to expand this play as much as possible. I have faith that it’s going to make you laugh and cry so next steps would be to bring it to another theatre as well as other cities. I also would like to expand some of the stories in the script. I’m excited to get some feedback and go from there.