Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise Slowly Fulfills (3.5 stars)

by Catherine Collins


‘Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise’ – Written by Toshiki Okada, Translated from Japanese by Aya Ogawa. Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques, with Assistant Director/Dramaturg, Veronica Haakonsen, and Stage Manager John Scala. Presented by the Apollinaire Theatre Company, 189 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea through March 13th.

‘Sonic Life’ is a play translated from its original Japanese that attempts to convey “that youth is not the only thing that’s sonic” – and it is a somewhat confusing depiction of the meaning of life. Sparse on scenery and dialogue (and character names, for that matter), it leaves one’s imagination open to the concept as you may glean from it. One of the opening lines from Actor 1 (Trip Venturella) reveals his great secret – that he wants to live life more fully. This becomes the basis of the content for the remainder of the play, as seen through the eyes of Actor 2 (Quentin James), and his girlfriends, real or imagined.

Actress 1 (Becca A. Lewis) has a multitude of thoughts that wistfully explore her hidden desires in a search to live her life fully, and she leads us on a path of wondering, “Does this character need to travel the world to be fulfilled?” Her persona is similar to the actress Lena Dunham of Girls fame, a likeable hipster, and she is a standout among the cast. Actresses 2 and 3 (Deniz Khateri and Paola Ferrer), both inject some liveliness into this journey. Their presence and personalities liven up the stage and the mood of an otherwise weighty topic. All of the actors did a remarkable job of pantomiming – typing at their invisible computer screen…dancing in a busy nightclub scene…and riding a subway, complete with dozing off on the train. With subway rides, celebrations of life’s minor heroics, and connections to our dreams and what they mean, this play is one that may have you pondering the meaning of life.

Although the lifespan of a tortoise can range up to 250 years (and ‘Sonic’ is is 65 minutes, with no intermission), this work may lead you to question, “Is this enough time to fulfill my life’s dreams and ambitions?” and it’s thought provoking in a creative way. It’s worth a trip to Chelsea, to travel to a historic theater and put on your thinking cap in expanded ways to walk out asking, “Have I lived my life to the fullest?” For more info, go to: