From February to March 2019, SePT will present Yukio Mishima’s powerful love-hate family drama “Nettaiju” (“Tropical Tree”) in a new production directed by Eriko Ogawa, the recently appointed youngest-ever artistic director of the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Working with Ogawa to stage this rhetorical, Greek tragedy-type work in Theatre Tram is a cast of five top actors enlisted to play the singularly strange characters in this tortured tale of love, lust and loathing.
Among these, Kento Hayashi takes the role of the son, Isamu, who is in a sexual relationship with his younger sister, shares dubious romantic feelings with his mother, and hates his successful, domineering father.After working with Hayashi when she staged “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” at SePT in 2017, Ogawa was especially keen to call on him again for this important role despite his busy schedule spanning Koki Mitani’s hit 2017 play “Kodomo No Jijo” (“Kids’ Condition”) to the current TV drama “Legal V.”
Also in demand for TV and movie roles, as well as on stage, is Rei Okamoto, who plays Ikuko, Isamu’s younger sister who loves her brother and tries to get him to murder their mother.
Playing the role of the family’s eccentric lodger, Nobuko, the father’s cousin, is the renowned stage actress Momoko Kurita, one of the stars of Satoshi Kamimura’s acclaimed 2018 SePT production of “Littoral” by Wajdi Mouawad.
Then Shingo Tsurumi returns to SePT following great reviews for his role in its 2018 production of English playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s “The Children.” This time, he portrays the successful father, Keisaburo, whose high position in society belies constant violent arguments with his son and his uncaring attitude to his wife and her infidelities both within and outside the family.
As for the mother herself, Ritsuko, that challenging role is played by the leading stage actress in Japan, Tomoko Nakajima. She, too, is returning to SePT having drawn media and audience plaudits for her tender-hearted acting in 2018’s “Littoral.”
Finally, though Ogawa, the 40-year-old director, is widely known for staging foreign plays in Japanese, and as a translator of works from English, “Tropical Tree” sees her tackling a modern Japanese play for the first time since May 2017, when she staged Chikao Tanaka’s “The Head of May: Nagasaki as Theophany” at the NNTT.While “Tropical Tree” has elements of Greek tragedy, the script’s style marvellously embodies Mishima’s famed aesthetic sensibility and use of beautiful Japanese. Yet just how Ogawa manages to reflect this — and also present the sexually perverted household nexus on stage — will surely break exciting new ground in her soaring career.
Set in the autumn of 1959, the play introduces the wealthy, self-satisfied businessman Keisaburo, who enjoys a high status in society while at home he dominates his wife, belittling her and treating her as his doll. Although Ritsuko pretends to be obedient to her husband, she is actually planning to use her romantic influence over her son, Isamu, to make him kill Keisaburo. But when her daughter, Ikuko, who is in an incestuous relationship with Isamu, finds out about her mother’s plot she urges him to murder their mother instead.
Then the eccentric lodger Nobuko is added to this toxic mix — and as all five people’s motives mingle, disaster can’t be far away.
Cast & Creative
Written by Yukio Mishima
Directed by Eriko Ogawa
Cast: Kento Hayashi, Rei Okamoto, Momoko Kurita, Shingo Tsurumi, Tomoko Nakajima
◆=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 2 March, 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.
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.