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HIRO - The Blue Room Theatre

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by Nessa123 (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Perth, Western Australia.
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Based on a true story
Hiro: The Man Who Sailed His House, is brilliantly directed by Samantha Chester and tells the harrowing real-life story of Hiromitsu Shinkawa; an ordinary man, who extraordinarily survived the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. He stayed afloat on top of the roof of his own house and was the last survivor found in his precinct.


'At two forty-six, something rumbles from deep in the earth, a sickening sort of grinding, and then everything lurches wildly, whips back, lurches more wildly still…. your first move is to flee the shed, to dive twenty feet free onto open ground and clutch it, as if riding the back of a whale. Time elongates. Three minutes becomes a lifetime.'


Hiro, Blue Room Perth, Perth, Northbridge, Stephen Heath, Humphrey Bower, Kylie Maree, The Guardian, Japan, 2011, Tsunami, Ocean, Sea, Flood, Japanese, Disaster, Natural Disaster, Nature, Natural, Wave, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, True Story, Based On A True Story, Real Life, Real, True, Life, Loss, Tragedy, Sad, Bring a tissue, Make you cry, Cry, Crying, Live, Play, Life Play, Theatre, Live Theatre
Humphrey Bower & Kylie Maree star in this harrowing tale of tragedy and survival - Image © Stephen Heath


While Hiromitsu is lucky enough to survive, he tragically loses everything else, including his beautiful wife, who he imagines is a mermaid, just to keep himself going. All he has left are 3 cans of energy drink and a pocket full of lollies to eat and drink.

Hiro, Blue Room Perth, Perth, Northbridge, Stephen Heath, Humphrey Bower, Kylie Maree, The Guardian, Japan, 2011, Tsunami, Ocean, Sea, Flood, Japanese, Disaster, Natural Disaster, Nature, Natural, Wave, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, True Story, Based On A True Story, Real Life, Real, True, Life, Loss, Tragedy, Sad, Bring a tissue, Make you cry, Cry, Crying, Live, Play, Life Play, Theatre, Live Theatre
Humphrey Bower & Kylie Maree with her Hiro puppet - Image © Stephen Heath


Along the way, he also recovers some manmade objects which he fishes out of the water, including a hat, a marker and a torn up part of a comic book, which he uses to leave messages to attach to himself so that he can be easily identified if he passes away.

Hiro, Blue Room Perth, Perth, Northbridge, Stephen Heath, Humphrey Bower, Kylie Maree, The Guardian, Japan, 2011, Tsunami, Ocean, Sea, Flood, Japanese, Disaster, Natural Disaster, Nature, Natural, Wave, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, True Story, Based On A True Story, Real Life, Real, True, Life, Loss, Tragedy, Sad, Bring a tissue, Make you cry, Cry, Crying, Live, Play, Life Play, Theatre, Live Theatre
Humphrey Bower & the Hiro puppet - Image © Stephen Heath


I was highly impressed by the imaginative use of its minimalistic set designed by Rhys Morris and creative use of props which immerse you into the story, from the point you enter the theatre room, even though you might not realise it at first.

Hiro, Blue Room Perth, Perth, Northbridge, Stephen Heath, Humphrey Bower, Kylie Maree, The Guardian, Japan, 2011, Tsunami, Ocean, Sea, Flood, Japanese, Disaster, Natural Disaster, Nature, Natural, Wave, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, True Story, Based On A True Story, Real Life, Real, True, Life, Loss, Tragedy, Sad, Bring a tissue, Make you cry, Cry, Crying, Live, Play, Life Play, Theatre, Live Theatre
Beautiful set, coupled with incredible lighting - Image © Stephen Heath


The combined use of sound, composed by Ekrem Eli Phoenix and lighting by Phoebe Pilcher and Kristie Smith were key ingredients, which added to the chaos and lonesomeness of the story and truly immersed the audience into how Hiro must have felt out there, all alone in a sea of fear and destruction.

The acting is absolutely superb, with Humphrey Bower phasing in and out between playing the main character Hiro, to being the narrator of the story and even playing the voice which keeps Hiro surviving against all odds. Kylie Maree, who plays Hiro's wife and mother, is also outstanding. She is also a puppeteer for one of the most imaginatively made puppets I have ever seen, which portrays both Hiro as well as the spirit of his wife.

All alone and sinking fast - Image © Stephen Heath


This show is absolutely worth seeing and truly honours the legacy of Hiro's incredible journey of love, loss and survival, which goes on, far after the terrible events of that fateful day.

Click here now to book your tickets.

9/10
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Why? A brilliant retelling of the true life story of Hiromitsu Shinkawa, the man who survived the 2011 tsunami by using his roof as a boat
When: 19 - 30 June, 7:00pm | 3 - 7 July, 8:30pm
Where: 53 James Street Perth Cultural Centre Northbridge WA 6003
Cost: $20 - $30
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