A Cast of Six Actors Led by Mansai Nomura and Ryoko Hirosue Challenge an Award-Winning Play into Which Hisashi Inoue Poured His Creative Energies
This year, KOMATSUZA and Setagaya Public Theatre are mounting a joint production of Shanghai Moon, an acknowledged masterpiece written by the distinguished Japanese playwright Hisashi Inoue (1934–2010) during the middle potion of his long career.
In a previous collaboration on a work by Hisashi Inoue in 2012 and again in 2015, KOMATSUZA and Setagaya Public Theatre staged Yabuhara Kengyo, a tragicomedy set in the Edo Period, to enthusiastic applause. In that instance, Tamiya Kuriyama’s polished direction and Mansai Nomura’s exceptional stage presence collided with Inoue’s energetic early play to revive this picaresque tale in a form well appreciated by contemporary audiences.
In 1991, Inoue was awarded the 27th Tanizaki Junichiro Prize for Shanghai Moon, and since its premier that same year, it has been staged by directors Koichi Kimura and Ikumi Tanno. An eloquently worded play, Shanghai Moon centers on the interaction between a Chinese writer Lu Xun, who hates Japan but loves the Japanese, and several Japanese people who respect and shelter him over a one-month period in 1934. For the present long-awaited production, Tamiya Kuriyama has assembled a glittering cast comprising Mansai Nomura, who combines exceptional physical prowess and acting talent with versatile expression and performance ability; Ryoko Hirosue, an actress with an established reputation for fresh and pure acting and vocalization who is making long-awaited return to the stage after a five-year hiatus; Machiko Washio, an actress highly regarded by numerous directors such as Yukio Ninagawa, Hideki Noda, Keiko Miyata and Eriko Ogawa; Yuichi Tsuchiya, who has performed memorably both as a full-time member of the 4-man theatre troupe *pnish* and as an independent actor and entertainer; Hajime Yamazaki, who appears widely in everything from nonsense comedy to classical drama; and Kazunaga Tsuji, a veteran actor whose career has spanned over half a century and includes a memorable presence in a long list of Inoue’s plays. With this powerful cast, Shanghai Moon will bring to a superb conclusion to 2017’s series of productions commemorating the 20th anniversary of Setagaya Public Theatre.
Given the current wavering state of Japan’s relationship with its neighbors including China, we are sure that the figures of Lu Xun and his companions will resound in the hearts of the audience.
Background to the Story
The story portrayed in Shangai Moon unfolds during August and September 1934 in Shanghai. The setting is the second floor of a bookstore run by Mr. and Mrs. Uchiyama, who are friends of Lu Xun, one of modern China’s most highly regarded writers and the author of such well-loved literary masterpieces as the short story A Madman’s Dairy and the novella The True Story of Ah Q. Lu was also one of the leaders of New Culture Movement of the mid 1910s and 1920s. However, during a period of unrest, Chiang Kai-shek’s ruling Kuomintang authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest.
Forced into hiding, Lu Xun and his wife Xu Guang-ping have taken shelter with his close friends Kanzo Uchiyama and his wife Miki, and during this period his body has become racked with disease. However, Lu is a great hater of doctors. So to get around this problem, at the request of Mr. and Mrs. Uchiyama, two medical men—the physician Dr. Iozo Sudo and the dentist Aizo Okuda—impersonate an enthusiastic fan of the writer and a portrait painter in order to get close to Lu in an effort to examine him.
Due to the laughing gas Okuda uses in the course of his examination, Lu Xun becomes possessed by some strange maladies, namely delusion misidentification syndrome and aphasia, which affects his ability to speak and comprehend language. In the face of these difficulties, Mr. and Mrs. Uchiyama and the Japanese doctors embark on a hard struggle to save Lu’s life.
What did Lu Xun, who worried about his country and yearned for his family while burning with a passion for literature, find out in the course of his suffering? He sincerely hated Japan and yet he sincerely loved Japanese people. Unfolding at a time of conflict and upheaval in China, this simultaneously funny and sad story centers on the interactions between Lu, his wife and the four Japanese who are with him in his final hours.
Cast & Creative
[Original Play] Hisashi Inoue
[Direction] Tamiya Kuriyama
[Cast] Mansai Nomura，Ryoko Hirosue，Machiko Washio，Yuichi Tsuchiya，Hajime Yamazaki，Kazunaga Tsuji
[Music] Seiichirou Uno
[Set Design]Shusaku Futamura
[Lighting] Motoi Hattori
[Costumes] Ayako Maeda
[Advertising Art] yuki sasameya
[Assistant Direction] Megumi Toyoda
[Stage Director] Kou Kato
■ Hyogo Performing Arts Center
Wed 14 March 2018, curtain rises at 13:30 and 18:30
Thu 15 March, curtain rises at 12:00
Inquiries: Tel. 0798-68-0255 (Hyogo Performing Arts Center Ticket Office)
*10:00 – 17:00/closed Mondays (or on the following day in the case of a national holiday)
■ The Theater, Niigata-City Performing Arts Center
Sun 18 March 2018, curtain rises at 13:30
Booking opens Fri 22 December 2017
Inquiries: Tel. 025-224-5521 (Ryutopia Ticket Exclusive Dial)
*11:00 – 19:00 except for closing days
■The Theater, Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Shiga
Wed (national holiday) 21 March 2018 *Performance start times will be announced as soon as they are decided.
Inquiries: Tel. 077-523-7136 (Biwako Hall Ticket Center)
*10:00 – 19:00/closed Tuesdays (or on the following day in the case of a national holiday/closed 13 – 18 August)
■The Main Hall, Toyohashi Arts Theatre PLAT
Fri 23 March 2018, curtain rises at 18:30; Sat 24 March 2018, curtain rises at 12:00 and 17:00
Booking opens Sat 9 December 2017
Inquiries: Tel. 0532-39-3090 (PLAT Ticket Center)
*10:00 – 19:00 except for closing days
■The Kanazawa Theatre
Sat 31 March 2018 *Performance start times will be announced as soon as they are decided.
Inquiries: Tel. 076-260-8000 (The Hokkoku Shimbun Readers Service Center)
◎ = There will be a post-performance talk (speakers = Mansai Nomura and others). ※Holders of tickets for the performance in question may attend.
■ = There will be an explanation session on the stage for the visually impaired before the theatre opens. (Please apply to the theatre/free of charge/aimed at holders of tickets for the performance in question)
△ = Cameras will be installed in the audience area for recording purposes.
▲ = Student groups will be seated in the audience area.
PV=The 13:30 performance on Sunday 25 February will be a private performance.
Voice Support for the Hearing Impaired (Advance Application Required/Free of Charge)
Earphones are available at the theatre lobby for lending out free of charge to hearing impaired audience members. To borrow an earphone, after purchasing your ticket, please apply to the theatre no later than three days before the performance in question.
Applications and inquiries: Tel. 03-5432-1526/Fax. 03-5432-1559/Email. firstname.lastname@example.org