suicide forest

Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity. In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche. Both are clawing for their self-worth. When their two journeys collide, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame as they now confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape. 

Photos by Sasha Arutyunova and Maria Baranova.

Kristine & Aya describe their relationship and their collaboration on SUICIDE FOREST



Suicide Forest Published by 53rd State Press

production history

World Premiere: The Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company, February 2019

SUICIDE FOREST by Kristine Haruna Lee
Directed by Aya Ogawa
Produced by Denise Shu-Mei & John Del Gaudio
Scenic Design by Jian Jung
Lighting and Video Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Sound Design by Fan Zhang
Music Composition by Jen Goma
Costume design by Alice Tavener

Featuring Akiko Aizawa, Keizo Kaji, Yuki Kawahisa, Toru Eddy Ohno, Aoi Lee, Dawn Akemi Saito, and Kristine Haruna Lee.

Prelude 2018 Festival Studio Visit, October 5, 2018.
NYU Gallatin & Dramatic Literature Reading, September 24, 2018.
Ars Nova Maker's Lab Residency Reading, May 4, 2017.
Bushwick Starr Reading Series, October 18, 2016.

Ancillary series

suicide forest inks copy.jpg

Accompanying the 2019 premiere of Suicide Forest is an ancillary series of relationship-based conversations and happenings centering Asian-American and Asian diasporic peoples perspectives. Written by Kristine Haruna Lee and directed by Aya Ogawa, Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and the relationship between sex, suicide, and identity.

Play-Related Events

Sept 24, 2018, 6:30pm: A reading of SUICIDE FOREST co-sponsored with NYU English Department's Program in Dramatic Literature and NYU Gallatin. Free and open to the public. Info here

Oct 5, 2018, 6:30pm: SUICIDE FOREST Studio Visit in the Prelude 2018 Festival at Elebash Hall, CUNY Grad Center.

Jan 23, 2019, 7:30pm: “Suicide Culture and its Influences on Artists” lecture at Japan Society

Community Conversations

Sept 30, 2018: The Asian WTFNB (Women/Trans/Femme/NonBinary) Performance-makers Potluck in community partnership with La MaMa

Jan 27, 2019: The Intergenerational Potluck

March 7, 2019: Post-Show Conversation: Transposing Japanese Tropes to the United States

Interested? email or dm us on instagram @suicideforestplay to learn about the next potluck. 



This project has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Map Fund Grant, and New York State Council on the Arts.