I'm a freelance writer living in Perth, Western Australia.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.