'If I had never left Japan, I probably would not have done theater," says Aya Ogawa, the Tokyo-born Brooklyn-based playwright, director and contemporary drama translator.

"I think the things that drew me into theater in the first place and kept me engaged in it were the ideas of fluid identity and translation," she says, appearing relaxed in a cozy Manhattan cafe. "As an actor you're translating what you're reading on the page through your body. As a director, you're translating the visions of the playwright on the stage. If I had not moved so much between Japan and the United States and had been raised in one country, I would have a very different sense of the world, perspectives and interests."

Ogawa's bicultural upbringing in Japan and the United States, she says, has made her what she is now. Using her linguistic "knife," she has been carving out a unique trajectory while honing her creative skills for more than four decades.