Now the main stage, “Shunkin”. It was just fantastic. Probably I can say one of the best stages I’ve ever seen.
The story is based on a novel called “Shunkin sho”, written by Junichiro Tanizaki. It’s a story of a blind shamisen player “Shunkin” and a man who takes care of her, “Sakuke”. On this stage, story goes with the narrator who is recording the story for “NHK” programme in the current Japan, and the man in the narrated story who is visiting the grave of Shunkin and Sasuke, and the old Sasuke who talks about his memory of Shunkin , and the live Shunkin and the young Sasuke, which means four different time and places overlap each other. The stage setting looked quite simple, each scenes were described by the stage properties the actors used, and the lighting, and the images projected on the back of the stage. It might sound complicated to understand…but actually the four different time-lines smoothly crossed over, it was amazingly clear. Or ever rather, it created extremely beautiful and mysterious imagery of mixed world of abstract and reality.
Another favourite part was the main actress Eri Fukatsu and the “Shunkin doll”. The story starts when Shunkin is a child, but instead of using different actresses, they used “Bunraku” style dolls and Fukatsu controlled them. Her voice was cute but high-handed, and together with the doll’s plain face, it created quite mysterious, unique expression which I can’t explain by words. When Shunkin grew up, the dolls got bigger, and finally Fukatsu became Shunkin…and it was my favourite scene. But maybe some of you are going to see it from now, so I don’t write it here…Anyway, throughout the stage, Fukatsu’s aura was just brilliant.
I was so impressed by the director Simon McBurney who projected this Japanese story beautifully, perfectly, on a stage. In Eri Fukatsu’s interview, she explained that he begun the production by having a workshop with the actors, and they discussed about the each scenes from the original novel. She said it took so long to complete everything, but probably this approach reached to a deeper understanding of the original, Simon McBurney added his creativity to it, and then the outcome turned out as such a beautiful, attractive world. The stage has a lot of wonderful “pictures” in it.
I’m interested in his other production. Only the problem is, if my English is enough to understand serious stories without subtitles…
This is a review in the Guardian.