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Meet The Family: Darren O'Donnell

By True Colors Festival Team

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March 30, 2021

Here at True Colors Festival, we are a big family of artists, creators and planners. In this installment of the Meet the Family series, we introduce Darren O’Donnell, the director of the theatre production, All the Sex I’ve Ever Had.

Name: Darren O’Donnell

Accolades: Novelist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, performance director and is the Artistic and Founding Director of Mammalian Diving Reflex.

True Colors Festival project: All the Sex I’ve Ever Had 

About the production: All the Sex I’ve Ever Had tells the stories of five Japanese seniors over the age of 60 from the perspectives of their sexual experiences. Each person comes from diverse backgrounds, sexualities and abilities. If you think sex and seniors don’t go together, this production will make you think twice.

Q: Why did you choose to explore the topic of sexuality for seniors?

I was interested in aging and vitality and wondered about what happens when people get older. I had heard that sexually transmitted diseases were an issue in elder care homes. But when we started working on the show, I realized that I wasn’t so much interested in sex and seniors, but about how sexuality evolves over the course of a lifetime, seen from the perspective of the later years.

Q: What was the most memorable about the experience of putting their event together? 

Covid-19 will be something I will never forget. We have all been working very hard to make this project work for now over a year, and we are working over zoom, which is very difficult. I am very grateful to the team at the True Colors Festival and Kyoto Experiment for making this happen!

Q: Fill in the blank: Sex is…

Complicated.

Q: Why should people watch this event?

Because it’s a beautiful, funny and moving show. It will make you think carefully about your life and all the people you have loved over the years.

Q: Could you tell us more about an upcoming project that you’re working on?

We’re currently working on a show about Filipino migrant labor. Filipinos are domestic workers in Angola and construction workers in Japan. They staff the oil fields of Libya, with about 600,000 working as nannies in Hong Kong. They sing on the stages of remote provinces in China and help run hotels in the Middle East. A quarter of the world’s seafarers are Filipino, comprising 70% of workers on Japanese boats. They’re in such demand as healthcare workers, that the Philippines had to put a stop to Germany’s March 2020 attempt to import an extra seventy-five nurses to help them deal with COVID-19.

Q: The message of True Colors Festival is “One World One Family”. What does this mean to you?

We are all in this together – all the humans, the animals, the viruses, the oxygen molecules, the sun, the earth, the electrons in your fingertip. Everything is made from the same things and the separation between it all is just an illusion.

Find out more about "All the Sex I've Ever Had"

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True Colors Festival 2020/2021

True Colors Festival (TCF) presented by The Nippon Foundation is a series of performing arts events presented across geographies, in celebration of diversity and inclusion as “One World One Family.”

Through festivals since 2006 in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, and Japan, TCF has presented more than 1,100 performing artists from more than 30 countries and attracted more than 40,000 people.

The re-start of TCF 2020/2021 marks its commitment to tap on the power of the arts to connect artists and audiences in experiences such as music videos, film screenings, children’s programs, musicals, concerts, and workshops.

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