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Suicide Forest

From 22 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Edgy, Indulgent, Thought-provoking

About the show

Ma-Yi presents an encore staging of "Suicide Forest," a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity. More…

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" examines the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.

Member Reviews (22)


Ambitious, Confusing, Edgy, Indulgent, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Indulgent, Dark, Overrated, Edgy, Surreal

See it if you love experimental, strange, other-worldly theater. SF is unrelentingly weird/unsettling. It makes cultural points, but has no real arc.

Don't see it if you want coherence; mostly incomprehensible. Theater's goal is to entertain &/or enlighten; I experienced neither. SF was NOT for me. Gd set

Raunchy, Dizzying, Disappointing, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if If you like surrealist plays that are different in style and focus.

Don't see it if This play goes very dark. Some real intense moments . If you dont like sex, sex themes.

Shocking, Confusing, Disturbing, Surreal, Intense

See it if Weird vignettes with a humiliated businessman, meek underage mistress & vicious daughters. Then a 4th-wall breaking search for identity.

Don't see it if You don’t like surrealism. Eventually it all makes sense. Many painful moments. Themes of sexual abuse & suicide. Sex and more sex.

Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Edgy, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Lee's autobiographical drama of a fraught mother/daughter relationship against generational cultural differences Dense, layered & puzzling

Don't see it if Cartoon bright elements of surrealism & poignant adolescence remembrances in an awkward mix Pain of sexual maturity in the ending is queasy

Affecting, Unique, Hybrid, Mesmerizing, Rare

See it if you’d like to see the work of a playwright-performer who is mining her own totally unique segment of human consciousness.

Don't see it if you’re looking for a contemporary equivalent of the well-made play.

Also A few seasons ago I caught Kristine Haruna Lee play a small, important... Read more Read less

Quirky, Indulgent, Dizzying, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Interested in Ma-Yi Theater, Japanese-American & mother-daughter issues, nonlinear and fantasy style story, breaking of fourth wall

Don't see it if Not interested in Japanese-American plays, want a linear, easy to follow plot, don’t like quirky characters or breaking of 4th wall

Also Want to see work of an emerging playwright that was a hit at Bushwick ... Read more Read less

Fantasy, Indulgent, Great staging, Experimental, Insecure

See it if Gay writer searches via high schoolgirl's sexuality to break from ancient-world pain of her "ghost mama" as in "I don't know where I belong"

Don't see it if The direct-address resolve with real writer and her mum compensates for:"Tastes like Mommy/Things schoolgirls will do for Gucci handbags."

Also Identity?Lovers reunite forever in the suicide forest afterlife."What'... Read more Read less

Dreamlike, Confusing, Disappointing, Experimental, Imaginative

See it if You’re interested in ethno-centric theatre, specifically works with Asian/Japanese subjects and themes.

Don't see it if You dislike experimental theatre that keeps you at arm’s length, even when there’s an explanation that’s part of the play.

Confusing, Raunchy, Great staging, Ambitious, Dizzying

See it if you want to see a show that is completely unusual and unpredictable. There are disturbing scenes and dialogue.

Don't see it if you feel uncomfortable with disturbing dialogue and scenes between older man and very young girl or with talk of suicide.

Also You never know what will happen. Some scenes are very good and others ... Read more Read less

Intense, Absorbing, Edgy, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if Unflinching look @ culture-specific problems re status, sex, conditions of social acceptance. Nightmarish dread of options closed one by one

Don't see it if expect Lee to write about Japan (or US) w/ reverential, rose-colored yearning; think minorities write for the majority rather than their own

Also Riveting to see how this cutting-edge, young playwright apprehends the... Read more Read less


See it if Reflections of feeling different in a world of high expectations of gender, sex, adulthood. And how it feels as they change around you.

Don't see it if Experimental, seemingly unrelated series of scenes aren't your thing.

Also Diversity: all Asian cast! Almost all are from Japan. Protagonist is a... Read more Read less

Compelling, Intelligent, Masterful, Thought-provoking

See it if You haven't yet seen Kristine Haruna Lee. You seek the deeply Japanese, mysterious, and nightmarish in your viewing.

Don't see it if You want a firm sense of what is going on, a grounding in Western culture, and no strange sexual stuff happening, i.e. you avoid the other.

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Edgy, Great acting

See it if You are interested in Japanese pop culture and social Mores I’m a dark surreal narrative with Great Acting

Don't see it if You want a deeply developed Straight forward plot and a big theater experience

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You love theater that challenges you. Show explores Japanese culture from a Japanese-American POV, hitting all the cultural highlights

Don't see it if You’re triggered by the title. No one commits suicide in the show. but suicide is referenced. Also if you only like trad stories/ messages.

Also Impossible to explain this show, and yet it sits in my brain like a be... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if Run to see this play. Each time I thought the playwright had reached the end, she added a novel, engrossing twist.

Don't see it if Alienating, distancing in the best possible way.

Indulgent, Messy, Slow, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You like avant garde experimental theatre, and enjoy work with high ambitions.

Don't see it if You want to see a play with dramatic momentum or a completed idea.

Also This play is unfinished and nobody ever bothered to make the author fi... Read more Read less

Bad, Incomprehensible, Offensive

See it if if ... if ... I'm afraid I am at a loss for a reason.

Don't see it if you have anything else to do.

Also I cannot urge you strongly enough to avoid this ... this ...this ...... Read more Read less

Crazy good, Ambitious, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if you want your theater to transport you to places you've never been, and to make you consider things you've never had to consider before.

Don't see it if You're looking for safe, linear theater.

Also Mind blowing is how to best describe this play, this theatrical medita... Read more Read less

Unique, Hypnotic, Personal

See it if experimentation with identity and point of view is fascinating.

Don't see it if you dislike breaking the fourth wall.

Edgy, Funny, Ambitious

See it if you like challenging and abstract theatre

Don't see it if you're allergic to that

Also This play is beyond stunning and I was fully captivated- truly some of... Read more Read less

Experimental, Refreshing, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You don't mind that the second half goes off the rails in a bad way. The first half was really getting somewhere and was very engaging.

Don't see it if You don't like plays that abandon their entire premise halfway through, just to be experimental for the sake of being experimental.


See it if I really can’t recommend this play — and I really, really wanted to. It’s a very disjointed and odd play.

Don't see it if If you’re not into experimental theater.

Also Well, I’m glad to have seen it and I am glad she got the play produced... Read more Read less

March 3rd, 2020
4/5 Stars. "It's a raw, provocative and eviscerating exploration of the artist's own identity, wrapped in the bubble-gum-pink and pastel hues of Tokyo export Hello Kitty."
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March 6th, 2020
"That’s Really Mom Up There: 'Suicide Forest' and 'SKiNFoLK'"
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March 4th, 2020
"'Suicide Forest' is a fantasy on themes of identity in three movements. It is, by turns, brilliant, baffling, and highly self-indulgent…It's a head-scratcher, an original, an irritant. With this one, you're on your own."
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March 6th, 2020
"This illustrates the biggest problem with 'Suicide Forest': it takes on too many issues, jumping from social to sexual to mythological to intimate family subjects. Making the play even more difficult to understand is that it is performed in both Japanese and English."
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Cast & Creatives (4)