“Dear Yoko”

Written and Performed by Anzu Lawson.  Developed and Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.

Anzu Lawson bares a remarkable resemblance to Yoko Ono, couple that with a really wonderful, deep sense of the artist and phenomenal acting skills and we are presented with Yoko Ono…almost in the flesh.

Through Anzu as Yoko we learn about the parallels between the two women.  Anzu slips in and out of Yoko’s character and in-between Yoko’s own revelations, she tells us about her life in Japan as a child growing up with a sister and a single mother.  Anzu was brought there from the US when her parents split up and her father was awarded custody of her sister.  Her mother fled to Japan with them both, ripping them from their American life, something Anzu missed dearly. 

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Her mother entered Anzu in child beauty contests and she began modeling at 14, hanging out with visiting rock bands and ended up a famous Japanese k-pop star.  It was then Anzu’s turn to run away, back to America and unexpected and sudden obscurity…but thankful, absolute freedom. 

Family dynamics change so much over the years don’t they?  We hold onto pain and anger until we just can’t remember why we feel them any more.  Needing to let go and forgive is part of Yoko’s journey and it become Anzu’s too.

It’s so fascinating that it was while preparing for this role the Anzu discovered so many of her own hang ups and judgments and life-long perspectives were based on fear and anger and all that stuff that really isn’t important at all.  She found herself as she discovered Yoko, and to watch that unfold on stage is frankly remarkable.

Anzu Lawson is a born storyteller.

Gracefully gifted, funny, smart and totally fearless.  Her Yoko is mesmerizing, powerful and moving.  It’s like an audience with her, full of life and her sorrow and her love.  Anzu’s story is totally her own and her revelations found through her relationship to Yoko are strange and beautiful.  How lucky we are to still have Yoko Ono in the world with all her wisdom and her resilience and her art.  Anzu reminds us that we are all on voyages of self discovery, we all have so much to learn about our lives and our pain and our joy and that is exactly how it should be. 

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“Dear Yoko” is a love letter to a women Anzu has never met.  A thank you for Yoko’s unwavering presence and unflinching strength.  It’s a gorgeous glimpse into two lives entwined by circumstance and paralleled by fate. 

I absolutely loved it.