Pretty Beast
Pretty Beast

Tell us about Pretty Beast.

Pretty Beast is an autobiographical story of a girl growing up with a schizophrenic mom and an alcoholic dad in Japan where she finds humor to be a survival tool. However, as a funny girl, she is a misfit in a sexist society. She discovers a role model in a Hollywood female comedy star but is starved of parental love. It is a dark comedy with heartbreaking drama that makes you feel strong.

Describe your show in three words.

Intense. Funny. Heartwarming.

Why should someone come to see your show?

My show opens up people. They tell me that they laughed and cried at my show at the same time. They can relate to my experience because the themes of mental illness and sexism are universal. Audience members who have dealt with mental illness, and also those who haven’t, found that as a result of the show, they started to talk about their serious life challenges.

At first, this was overwhelming for me, but after a while, I could see in their eyes that they needed to feel the freedom to speak up about topics that are taboo in society. They can have fun while experiencing a real-life challenge on the stage with a sense of humor. Even though the topic is very heavy, they will leave feeling good and full of positivity.

If your show was a superhero which superhero would it be, and why?

Though I don’t know many superheroes, it would be a female version of Marvel’s Legion. Legion has to fight with distinguishing between reality and what is in her head. The character’s nemesis is her own mind, and she shines a light on mental health just like Pretty Beast.

If you could see only one show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival this year, besides your own, what show would that be?

Josephine. When I was in the 2016 San Diego Fringe Festival I saw her in the festival wrap show. She is a fantastic singer and she touched me in just a few minutes. I’m curious to see her full show.

The Details

Pretty Beast
Arts Umbrella, 1286 Cartwright St, Vancouver
Website: Kazu Kusano
Instagram: @kazu_kus

About #FringeDuJour

#FringeDuJour is a peek at some of the shows coming to this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. We’ve asked Fringe artists to answer a few questions to entice you to see what they have to offer and to help cross-pollinate the Fringe.

For Even More Information

The 2019 Vancouver Fringe Festival runs September 5-15 on Granville Island and stages around town. Visit for tickets and information.