The first time I met musically talented Kaho Koda was in fall 2013. She was part of the “9 to 5: The Musical” cast, dancing and singing to Dolly Parton’s timeless soundtrack all the while wearing a dope 1980s inspired skirt suit.
The first time I met stage manager Kaho was in fall 2014. We were in our Introduction to Theatre class and she told me she had taken up a position at Players’ Theatre at McGill University. She introduced me to the fantastical theatre world of McGill, which I am forever grateful to her for.
The first time I met thespian Kaho was in spring 2015, when we took an acting class together. Every class I saw her morph and transform into different characters – from a grandmother to a cat – she could do it all.
The first time I met director Kaho was in the fall of 2015. She directed her first play, “University of Laughter,” a Japanese play that she had translated into English, a huge task to take on for one’s directorial debut. The final performance was a sold out show at Tuesday Night Cafe Theatre.
The first time I met theatre manager and technician Kaho was in 2016. Rocking her tech black and tool belt, she was the quintessential theatre nerd. In 2018, she took on the role of production manager of “The Joy of Sax” at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Having moved to Toronto after graduation, she had taken her new city by storm. In less than a year, she had integrated herself into the theatre community, all the while balancing her new job in real estate and living with her love, Rutger. Unstoppable.
The first time I met creative thinker Kaho was in the fall of 2018. She was writing her first play, titled “Decaying Tongue,” and was ecstatic to share her story. Based on her experiences as a Japanese woman living in Canada, this show explores the difficulties in navigating one’s split cultural identity between one’s past home and one’s new home. This show will be premiering this summer at the Toronto Fringe Festival from July 3 to 14.
And here is to the first time the world meets Kaho.
Written by Rana Liu, a superfan (and super friend) of Kaho Koda.
What ‘hood are you in?
I live in Roncesvalles. My favourite is going to Cherry Bomb Coffee on a Sunday morning for coffee and croissants. It’s a nice friendly community where everyone is just doing their thing. I also like to take advantage of living near the water in the summer. The impromptu dinner picnics and swimming are my favourite summer activities.
What do you do?
I am a theatre creator. I initially dipped my toes in stage and production management as well as technical theatre, which has helped me immensely to understand how a theatrical production works. But ultimately, I like to be on the creative side of things. I prefer to have my art in front of me so that I have the ability to see what I have created. I’ve done acting on stage and I loved it while it lasted, but it’s so hard to take a step back and see the art. It gives me pleasure and a sense of achievement to see all elements of theatre coming together on opening night.
What are you currently working on?
I am the writer and director of Decaying Tongue at Human Burrito Productions. It’s a story about Aya, a Japanese woman who has lived in both the western and Japanese world. She struggles with her own cultural identity and the story revolves around how she interacts with her family, friends, and environment. It’s a mix of what I have experienced in life and some fiction sprinkled on top. What do you do when your own people deny who you are? Should you feel guilty that you prefer your other half more? Decaying Tongue explores clash of cultures and what it means to find your footing with a diverse background in the 21st century.
Where can we find your work?