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By Rick Pender
June 10th, 2023

CINCY FRINGE 2023. I’ve crossed paths with Teruko Nakajima more than once during this year’s Fringe festival. With her heart-shaped red-framed eyeglasses and chipper demeanor, I wasn’t fully prepared for her hair-raising personal story presented in MADE IN AMERICA, at the Fringe’s 1316 Main venue. While repeatedly jaunty and upbeat, she describes a life of trauma and violence from her childhood in Tokyo to her adult life in America. She was repeatedly physically and sexually abused (38 times, she tells us) along the way before she finally figured out how to be happy in a more permanent way. She fully credits the United States as enabling her to do that, despite all the horrible steps she suffered along the way. Dressed in a fringed scarlet dress and quick to show off her professional dance moves, she’s fun to watch — and if you weren’t hearing her descriptions about her awful experiences, you might think MADE IN AMERICA is a comedy. It has many laugh-out-loud moments, but Nakajima is quick to sober audiences up with the challenges she’s faced along the way. At her performance’s conclusion she’s joined by her tiny sweet dog, Titi, a significant contributor to her current happy state of mind. This is an energetic, purely Fringe kind of story, well worth seeing. More performances: 6/10 @ 8:45; 6/15 @ 8:45; and 6/16 @ 7.