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In new play, Nelson’s Hiromoto Ida highlights ‘invisible, quiet moments’

Vacant Lot runs Jan. 18, 19 and 20 at the Capitol Theatre
Nelson actor and dancer Hiromoto Ida (right) has collaborated with Lindsay Clague to create Vacant Lot, running Jan. 18, 19, and 20 at the Capitol Theatre. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

In Hiromoto Ida’s new stage production Vacant Lot, an elderly married couple contemplate the ground where their family home used to stand many years before.

After their children grew up, the couple moved to a condominium. Now they have returned to find all that is left of the house are a few remnants in the ground: a sink, a toilet bowl, some toys, a window frame.

The couple’s conversation, as they stand there in the dark with a bright moon overhead, evokes powerful memories and raises big questions.

Lindsay Clague and Hiromoto Ida in rehearsal for Vacant Lot. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Ida plays the husband in Vacant Lot, which runs Jan. 18, 19 and 20 at the Capitol Theatre, and the Nelson actor and dancer Lindsay Clague plays his wife.

Clague says the play humourously celebrates the ordinary, undocumented moments in everyday life.

“Those invisible, quiet moments, pieced together, are the essence of a life, a life together,” she says. “But sometimes one partner remembers things the other does not. We can all walk through life and have similar experiences and take away different things from it.”

Ida says Vacant Lot focuses on memories of those everyday elements of life, but it is also about the impermanence of those memories.

The couple does not want to believe they and all their memories will soon disappear forever. They consider whether their ordinary life of eating, sleeping, and raising kids might be something universally significant, more than they realized. Was it just as special, in its own way, as any big news event, like a war? Perhaps the details of their past ordinary life were just as cosmically significant as the huge moon that hovers over them.

Lindsay Clague and Hiromoto Ida. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Is it too late now to imbue the details of their already-lived lives with that level of significance?

They answer that question with a magical and humourous decision, a spoiler not to be revealed here.

Vacant Lot is Ida’s adaptation of Sarachi, a play by contemporary Japanese theatre artist Shogo Ota. Ida has added movement to its presentation, turning it partly into a dance performance.

“It’s 70 per cent play and 30 per cent dance,” he says.

Ida is a Nelson choreographer, dancer, and actor who has created several unique productions in the city including Homecoming (2020) and Birthday Present for Myself (2021). He was named Nelson’s cultural ambassador in 2012.

Ida also has a film career outside the Kootenays. The American film database IMDb gives him 13 movie credits as an actor from from 1994 to the present, and he currently has a part in a television remake of the movie Shogun, soon to run on Disney Plus in 10 episodes.

Clague and Ida have collaborated in several Nelson productions in the past. Clague says they “speak the same language because we both have a background in both theatre and dance, and it is not always easy to find that partnership.”

Lindsay Clague and Hiromoto Ida. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Ida has choreographed the play to give each ordinary movement a special significance.

“I’m really picky,” Ida says, describing how he taught Clague a new way of picking up a cup or walking across the room, trying to make the motions “dancey but not too dancey.”

He says this technique makes Vacant Lot a little like a dream. Then he clarifies that the piece is accessible, funny, and not far-out.

“I am aiming it at regular people,” he says, “like my mom.”

The production of Vacant Lot features sound design by John Tucker, lighting design by Sharon Huizinga, stage design by Ian Johnston and stage management by Hannah Stevens.

Tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre box office or at


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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