• By: Karen Temple

Undercurrents Supports local Artists While Making Arts Accessible to Everyone

Ottawa Fringe’s Executive Director Alain Richer was on hand to officially open Undercurrents, the winter festival highlighting contemporary theatre by local and national artists. The festival kicked off a ten-day run at Arts Court last night.

Kanata native Kaylie Hatashita performed her one-person show, Kimiko, which features circus-like abilities with spoken word. Hatashita stepped on stage with her take on a traditional Buugeng performance. The musical score and Hatashita’s skill at spinning the objects combine to create a beautiful, poetic feast for the senses that is utterly enthralling.

Hatashita describes the horrors her family endured as Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage during the Second World War. In a snippet of a recorded conversation, her grandfather tells her, “You have to leave it behind . . . You can’t keep crying over and over and over . . . that’s the way life is.” He is right, but understanding the past lets you live with and love those in the present with more compassion and acceptance.

The arts have the power to connect cultures and express social issues, and Hatahita proves herself to be a formidable communicator. Through her dance, juggling, and balancing acts, she tells the audience that she is at peace, has come to terms with her heritage, and has found the solid footing to move forward in her own life.

The story of reconciliation generational trauma is relatable to many from different countries and cultures. Most know the story of interned Japanese Canadians, but children and those who don’t will benefit from catching one of the two remaining stagings of Kimiko — Friday, February 9 or Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Kimiko is a beautiful performance that opens the mind, the heart, and the soul. Everyone should experience it.

The Undercurrents Festival is hosting a total of 40 performances and events that are fully accessible. The festival backs it up with a “Pick Your Price” model, allowing everyone to participate in the arts.

Bravo to Ottawa Fringe. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with the local contemporary arts scene.

For more information and to view the complete festival schedule, visit ottawafringe.com/undercurrents/