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God Bless Baseball

Toshiki Okada

Jan 21-23 2016

Runtime TBA



“The voice of Japan’s lost generation, young people who not unlike America’s Millennials came of age in a startling time of economic uncertainty.” The Oregonian

What does the sport of baseball mean to you?

Two girls stand awkwardly on a baseball diamond with ill-fitting mitts and ask to learn the rules of the game. The rules are explained by a man who knows them well but can’t stand the game, and in hyper-spiritual terms by another who thinks he’s Ichiro Suzuki only he’s not, but the girls frustrate their explanations to extreme degrees. Funny, awkward, painful, and both wide-ranging and very personal, God Bless Baseball reveals how deeply rooted the iconic American game is in everyday life in Japan and Korea, from the highest echelons of political power down into the most intimate family recollections.

Playwright and director Toshiki Okada takes on the peculiar idiosyncrasies and anxieties of contemporary life, and expands them with unique choreography based on exaggerated everyday gestures. God Bless Baseball is performed by Japanese actors who play Korean roles (in Japanese), and Korean actors who play Japanese roles (in Korean). With English subtitles.

In Japanese and Korean with English supertitles.

Toshiki Okada is known around the world as one of the most ground-breaking playwrights and directors in Japanese theater today. His works are intrinsically Japanese, emerging from a contemporary setting with particular idiosyncrasies, anxieties, and forms of expression. He formed the theater company chelfitsch in 1997—naming it after a deliberate mispronunciation of the English word selfish. Its plays bring the intimacy of individual concerns into conversation with overshadowing issues, like the economic crisis or the cultural aftershocks of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He is a winner of the Kishida Kunio Drama Award, Japan’s most prestigious honor for playwrights.

FringeArts has previously presented Okada’s Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech and Zero Cost House (with Pig Iron Theatre Company).

Join us January 18 for a reading of The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise written by Toshiki Okada and directed by Dan Rothenberg

God Bless Baseball is commissioned by Asian Culture Complex – Asian Arts Theatre; co-produced by Asian Culture Complex – Asian Arts Theatre, Festival/Tokyo, and Taipei Arts Festival; additional commissioning support provided by FringeArts, Philadelphia, Japan Society, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, and Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University; research and workshop support by Doosan Art Center; in cooperation with Kinosaki International Arts Center, Steep Slope Studio and Sample.

Toshiki Okada God Bless Baseball U.S. tour is funded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2015, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, The Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN Program, and the Asian Cultural Council. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of JapanJapan Foundation Asian Cultural Council

Art Works NEA

The FringeArts engagement of Toshiki Okada’s God Bless Baseball is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. 




97 mins

$29 / Members save 30%
$15 Students & 25-and-under

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