Back by audience demand, Keralino Sandorovich’s (Kera) heartwarming romantic comedy masterpiece Cinema & Lovers returns to the Setagaya Public Theatre in June 2019. This is the first chance to see this play since its sold-out premier swept Japan’s major theater awards in 2016.

Kera will once again personally direct this new staging, which also features a return of the original cast and artistic staff. But this time, the venue has shifted from the intimate Theatre Tram to the grand scale of the Setagaya Public Theatre’s main stage.



Woody Allen’s fourth-wall breaking romantic comedy The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) inspired Kera to write Cinema & Lovers. Kera’s own take on the premise is set in Japan during the 1930s. The play takes place in a fictional little port town called Fukurojima, where the residents speak in a hilarious dialect created by Kera.

With the world thrown into turmoil by the great depression, the 1930s were a turbulent time in Japan on all fronts: politically, economically, and culturally. This era featured both the last remnants of the fanciful Taisho era and budding Showa era modernity with its fusion of Japanese and Western culture. Also, cinema was starting to take hold as a dominant form of popular entertainment. The silver screen was an oasis that gave everyday people a chance to escape from the troubles of their daily lives.

Kera uses this turbulent era as the backdrop for the uproarious tale of a young woman’s whimsical infatuation with an idol of the silver screen. As usual, Kera creates a fantastical and bittersweet comedy that is truly one of a kind.



The play is set in a tiny movie theater during the 1930s, in a small port town called Fukurojima. There, movies don’t open until half a year after they premier in the big cities. But Haruko lives for the cinema. Then, one day, everything changes when her favorite movie star suddenly starts to talk directly to her, from within the silver screen . . .


Production History

Cinema & Lovers originally ran from Nov. 15 to Dec. 4, 2016, at Theatre Tram.



Hayakawa Higeki-Kigeki (Tragedy Comedy) Award 2016 for Best Play

Kinokuniya Drama Award 2016 for Playwriting/Direction to Keralino Sandorovich

Yomiuri Prize for Drama 2016 to Keralino Sandorovich



Cinema & Lovers embodies the latest and best techniques of contemporary theater. Everything is meticulously and beautifully choreographed, down to the transitions from one scene to the next. And for every moment of its runtime, the actors and story maintain an atmosphere that is at once tender and piercing. We are lucky to be alive at the right time to experience Kera working his miracles. (Reviewed by Seiko Ito)


Although it is based on Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, Cinema & Lovers surpasses the original movie. It’s so funny that it’s depressing, so funny that you can’t help but be moved, and so funny that you could cry. It’s a truly awesome performance! (Reviewed by Yumi Toyosaki in Higeki Kigeki magazine, May 2017.)


Kera’s marriage of theater and cinema has given birth to an uproarious comedy masterpiece. (Reviewed by Takashi Kono in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nov. 26, 2016.)


Kera has created a play that you just can’t help but love! (Review from the Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2016.)


Cast & Creative

Written & directed by
Keralino Sandrovich

Satoshi Tsumabuki  Tamaki Ogawa

Rie Tomosaka

Ichiro Mikami  Chikau Sato  Atsushi Hashimoto
Nobuhisa Ogata  Mitsunori Hirokawa  Nozomi Muraoka

Rina Sakiyama  Takashi Oshita  Miyuki Nishina  Yu Kitagawa  Atsuro Katayama



















Stage Photographs

no images were found


◆=Cameras will be installed in the audience area for recording purposes.
■ = Stage Explanation for People with Visual Disabilities
Advance application required. Free. Before the 13:00 performance on Sat 22 June, we will explain aspects that are difficult to understand without seeing them, such as stage settings and costumes. People with a ticket for this performance may attend.

Audience Support

Childcare Service

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

Wheelchair Spaces

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.