Design by Kazuaki Akizawa Photo by Shinji Hosono
In 2021, the curtain rises on a new production of Requiem on the Great Meridian.
Requiem on the Great Meridian, an adaptation of material from The Tale of Heike, is a true gem of a play and a timeless classic of Japanese theatre. For Setagaya Public Theatre’s 20th anniversary, Mansai Nomura’s multi-award winning 2017 production is reborn. This 2021 production reexamines the core of the script, creating a new staging that is more tautly paced and dynamic.
Junji Kinoshita’s script for Requiem on the Great Meridian adapts material from The Tale of Heike, depicting the struggles of humanity from a comprehensive bird’s eye view perspective. The script shines a light on major figures from the Genpei War including Taira no Tomomori and Minamoto no Yoshitsune. These figures come to life in a historical drama that operates on a grand scale while also providing a deft psychological portrait of its characters. This play is widely known as masterpiece, and it has a firmly established place in Japanese theatre history for its use of the Japanese language. It employs a unique style of group recitation that sounds truly sublime and brings out the beauty of the Japanese oral storytelling tradition.
This script was first staged in 1979, in a production featuring Jukichi Uno, Hideo Kanze, and Junji Kinoshita. Created by a genre-crossing production team composed of actors and staff from the worlds of noh, kyogen, kabuki, and modern theatre, this performance received critical acclaim as a one-of-a-kind play that embodied the entirety of Japanese theatre history in a single piece of theatre.
After numerous other performances, this legendary play was presented at Setagaya Public Theatre in July, 2017, with a new staging by director Mansai Nomura.
Nomura’s 2017 production of Requiem on the Great Meridian could be said to be the culmination of his many directorial works as the Artistic Director of Setagaya Public Theatre. His work fuses classical and modern theatre, providing both a kyogen-esque macro perspective that looks at humanity from a bird’s eye view and also a noh-esque micro perspective that comes face to face with the spiritual and emotional aspects of humanity. The 2017 production of Requiem on the Great Meridian received numerous awards, including the Yomiuri Theatre Awards Grand Prix. It also received widespread critical acclaim for the deep insight offered by its cosmic perspective, its contrast between the single individual and a universe that contains within it fate of all humanity, and dynamic direction that made brilliant use of the performers’ bodies and employed group recitation to draw out the beautiful sounds of the Japanese language.
And now, at the start of 2021 and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, after much trial and error, this new production builds on the foundation of that 2017 staging while also reexamining the core of the script, aiming to create a new, more dynamic, and more elaborate staging of Requiem on the Great Meridian.
Additionally, this 2021 production will also surpass the 2017 production in another way by embarking on a series of touring performances.
This production will last for over a full month, opening in February at KAAT (Kanagawa Arts Theatre) and then heading to Aichi, Kurume, and Hyogo before finally returning to Setagaya Public Theatre.
Don’t miss your chance to witness the birth of this new, more elaborate, more dynamic, and more tautly paced staging of Requiem on the Great Meridian.
The Genpei War is one of the most well-known events in Japanese history. The tide of war is turning against the Taira clan, slowly but surely. At the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, Taira no Tomomori (Mansai Nomura), who commands the Taira army in place of his elder brother Taira no Munemori (Kunitaro Kawarasaki), is ambushed by Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Songha) and driven into the ocean. Later, after beginning to doubt himself for the first time after becoming a military commander, Tomomori sends the dancer Lady Kagemi (Mayumi Wakamura) to the capital as a peace envoy.
Awa no Minbu Shigeyoshi (Takehiro Murata), a vassal of Taira from a major clan in Shikoku, invokes the three legendary treasures from Japanese myth to advocate for war, plotting to create a new Japan with Tomomori as its ruler. Although Tomomori senses the destruction of the Taira clan is close at hand, he rejects the cruel demands of the cloistered emperor Go-Shirakawa and pursues a path of total resistance.
Meanwhile, Minamoto no Yoshitsune comes into conflict with Kajiwara Kagetoki (Kazutoyo Yoshimi), a spy sent by his older brother Minamoto no Yoritomo. Nonetheless, Yoshitsune stands at the head of Minamoto army and leads them to one victory after another, overcoming even his inexperience at fighting sea battles. Momentum is on their side.
And then, at last, both armies prepare for the day of their climactic final confrontation at the Battle of Dan-no-ura…
Cast & Creative
Written by Junji Kinoshita
Directed by Mansai Nomura
Music by Toru Takemitsu
Mansai Nomura Songha Kunitaro Kawarasaki
Kazutoyo Yoshimi Takehiro Murata Mayumi Wakamura／
Tomoya Hoshi Haruo Tsukizaki Ai Kaneko
Mitsuhiro Tokita Kainosuke Matsuura
Masanori Iwasaki Shinsuke Urano Ryosuke Jimbo
Kei Takeda Yusuke Tooyama Tomoki Morinaga
A childcare service is normally available for performances staged at Setagaya Public Theatre and Theatre Tram for which advance tickets are sold.
|Charge:||¥2,200 per child|
|Eligibility:||Children aged over 6 months and up to 9 years of age|
|Applications:||Tel. 03-5432-1526 Setagaya Public Theatre
You may reserve childcare services up to noon of the day 3 days before the desired reservation time, but when the number of children registered reaches capacity, applications will closed. So please make your reservation well in advance. Also, please consult with the theatre regarding children with special needs.
|Subcontractor:||Kids’ Room Tinker bell Sancha|
Both Setagaya Public Theatre and Theatre Tram are equipped with wheelchair spaces to allow visitors to watch performances from their wheelchairs. However, as capacity is limited, use of wheelchair spaces is by reservation only.
|Charge:||10% discount on the corresponding area ticket charge (plus up to one attendant free of charge)|
|Applications:||Tel. 03-5432-1515 Theatre Ticket Centre|
Wheelchair spaces may be reserved up to 19:00 on the day before the desired date, but when the number of reservations reaches capacity, applications will be closed. So please make your reservation well in advance. Also, for wheelchair users who prefer to watch the performance from a regular seat, the theatre will smoothly guide them too and from their seat. Please contact the theatre in advance to take advantage of this service.