I Am For You by Mieko Ouchi
Publishing Date: October 20, 2016
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Asian Canadian Theatre
The Premise from the Publisher: "Fighting words . . . Lainie and Mariam have it out for each other, so it’s no surprise when they finally come to violent blows in the middle of their high school’s drama room. That’s when Caddell Morris, an ex-professional actor and newly minted student teacher, steps in. By teaching the girls the art of stage combat, he hopes to help them understand more about the roots and costs of violence. But when he convinces the drama teacher to let them play Mercutio and Tybalt in their school production of Romeo and Juliet, swords, words, and egos battle and clash. Can they find a way to work together?" (PCP).
My overall thoughts and review: I believe this is my first play review ever on the blog which is quite exciting! I read quite a few plays in my undergrad and I've picked up a few here and there, but I haven't really read much in terms of Canadian theatre. When I read the premise of this and saw that it incorporated elements of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, I was instantly intrigued. As many problems as that play had, I found that after reading what Ouchi created, I had a new found appreciation for the play Shakespeare wrote. Ouchi touched on elements of how violence plays a big factor and it isn't simply about violence over love, but violence within friendships and family as well. The premise is incredibly interesting, there are two classmates that end up fighting: Mariam and Lainie, and when their student teacher breaks them apart, he decides to have them spend a day with him to learn stage combat. The parts where the learning of the stage combat is done is incredibly intricate. I could see it unfolding in my mind and it truly is an 'art' - every movement is carefully crafted and calculated. The girls end up showing quite a lot of promise that Caddell decides to put them in the school production of Romeo & Juliet as Mercutio and Tybalt. I really liked that through their experiences and their acting, they were able to look at one another differently. I really enjoyed reading this play by Ouchi and I definitely want to look into other plays that she has written. I think fans of YA literature would definitely enjoy this because there's a strong emphasis on themes of bullying and friendship.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
Playwrights Canada Press, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was sent by Playwrights Canada Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.