How Does a Man Become a Frog?

This is the question I would like to ask Dylan Myers, who is playing Frog in an adaptation of two short stories by Haruki Murakami and marvelously combined and intertwined by Frank Galati into a 90 minute play, “After the Quake”, showing through next weekend at the Atlas Theatre as a part of Rorschach Theatre’s 2011-2012 subscription series.

The story line (or more properly story lines): Junpei is a writer, and personally quite shy and uncomfortable in his own skin. When he was a university student, he had two good friends – ever confident Takatsuki, and charming Sayoko. Of course, Takatsuki winds up with Sayoko, Junpei remains just a friend. Sayoko and Takatsuki have a daughter, Sala, and get divorced. Sala is afraid of the Earthquake Man, and can be calmed only by Junpei’s stories. Junpei tells the story of Frog, who saved Tokyo from a scheduled major quake.

This brings us to Frog. Dylan Myers is a relatively tall and slender young man. As Frog, played with much verve, he dons special shoes and gloves and wears oversized eyeglasses. He holds his feet together at the heels, but points them out at 45 degree angles. He bends slightly at the knees. He holds his torso tight and somewhat at a forward angle. His head is perfectly vertical. Sometimes, he bends his knees, keeping his feet splayed, and crouches almost to the ground. He sort of looks like a frog.

But here is the important point. He jumps like a frog. Even from a full crouch, Dylan Myers can jump from the floor onto a table, or he can bound across and off the stage in two jumps. How does he do this? If I get in his crouching position, I cannot jump a millimeter off the floor; I am stuck. How dies a man become a frog?

Another question. This one I would like to ask Megan Graves, who plays Sala. How does an adult become a pre-adolescent? I know she is under the age of ten when the Earthquake Man wakes her up at night and she is screaming for her mother. But I know she is an adult when she plays other parts in the show (everyone has multiple parts) and because the playbill says that she has a BFA. But how does she become a child?

This is a serious and completely fanciful play, well directed and well performed. If you have a chance to see it next weekend, do.

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