Mary Poppins with her Upside – down Umbrella

Program Information

Genre Theatre
Dates 28 April at 18:00, 29 April at 18:00, 30 April at 18:00
Venue at Open Air Theatre “UDO”, Shziuoka Performing Arts Park
Duration to be decided (less than 120 minutes)
Language In Japanese with English subtitles
seat Non-reserved seating
Direction MIYAGI Satoshi
Production SPAC- Shizuoka Performing Arts Center

Introduction

As the popularity of underground drama in Japan is still high, this keenly anticipated work by playwright and director KARA Juro, directed by MIYAGI Satoshi, will finally be staged at SPAC’s popular open-air UDO theatre following its last-minute postponement in 2020.

In this drama, a mysterious girl named Kana Ishikawa appears as if from nowhere in front of two young men — Ochoko, who runs an umbrella shop, and his friend Higaki. Her arrival is just like a movie scene from “Mary Poppins” — but is she an angel or a demon in disguise?
A standard-bearer of the radical, 1960s and ’70s so-called small-scale theatre movement in Japan, KARA wrote this absurd but heartbreaking tragedy in 1976.
Then, aiming to stage it at SPAC’s UDO theatre against the natural green backdrop of the Nihondaira Plateau, the company’s General Artistic Director, MIYAGI Satoshi, freshened up the masterpiece and slated it to be included in last year’s Shizuoka World Theatre Festival.
When that sadly had to be postponed due to Covid-19, SPAC instead decided to present three, two-hour live streamings of the deserted venue titled “Theatre absence of Mary Poppins with her Upside-down Umbrella”
Afterward, that surprising attempt to represent the effect of “absence” in theatre was well-received and much discussed among theatregoers.

Synopsis

Ochoko, who runs an umbrella shop near the Aiai Bridge, falls in love with Kana Ishikawa, a customer who asks him to repair her umbrella, and dreams of making one like Mary Poppins’ for her. Meanwhile Higaki, who Ochoko helped when he fell on hard times, and who lives for free in his house, realizes Kana was the woman at the center of a shocking scandal when she gave birth to the child of a famous pop singer. Then other mysteries surrounding Kana begin to emerge one after another — as Ochoko’s and Higaki’s lives are embroiled in turmoil.

Director’s Profile

© KATO Takashi

MIYAGI Satoshi
General Artistic Director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC)
Born in Tokyo in 1959, after studying aesthetics at Tokyo University under ODASHIMA Yushi, WATANABE Moriaki and HIDAKA Hachiro, he founded the KU NA’ UKA theater company in 1990 and soon began staging plays overseas as well as in Japan. As a result, MIYAGI’s work — in which he often fuses contemporary textual interpretations with physical techniques and patterns of Asian theatre — has long been acclaimed both at home and far abroad. Indeed, in 2004 he received the 3rd Asahi Performing Arts Award, and the next year the 2nd Asahi Beer Art Award.
Since taking up his position with SPAC in April 2007, MIYAGI has staged many of his own works — including “Medea”, the Hindu epic “Mahabharata”, and “Peer Gynt” — and has invited artists from abroad to present pieces casting a keen eye on the modern world as they see it. In line with his aim to make theatre “a window to the world,” he has also started a new SPAC-based project aimed at the youth of Shizuoka.
In 2014, MIYAGI was invited to the Festival d’Avignon, where he received excellent reviews for his open-air version of the Hindu epic “Mahabharata” staged in La Carrière de Boulbon. Following that landmark achievement, the festival extended the honor of inviting MIYAGI to present a Buddhist interpretation he created of the ancient Greek mythological tragedy “Antigone” as its super-prestigious opening program for 2017. On that occasion, which was the first time an Asian play had ever been selected to launch the festival, MIYAGI’s exalted “stage” was the open-air Cour d’honneur du Palais des papes (the Honor Court of the Palace of Popes). By the play’s end, those towering medieval stone walls were ringing out with long and splendid standing ovations welcoming the work’s director and creator along with SPAC’s actors and staff — while more than 60 European media all gave great reviews.
In 2018, he received the 68th Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize of Drama. Also he recieved “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the Ministry of Culture of France in 2018.

Writer’s Profile

KARA Juro
Born in Tokyo in 1940. Graduated from Meiji University with a degree in theatre. He founded Jokyo Gekijou (Situation Theatre) in 1963. With spirit and uniqueness, he experimented with outdoor theatre, which is how the small theatre movement began. In 1967, in Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine, the red tent was built for the first time and “Koshimaki Osen” was staged. Subsequent activities continued around the tent performances, as well as performances overseas. In 1970 KARA won the KISHIDA Drama Award with “Shojo Kamen” and in 1982 the AKUTAGAWA Award as well as other awards with “A Letter from Young Sagawa”. In 1988 he formed Karagumi. He has led the troupe and has continued at a pace where he is staging at least two new works a year. He has worked as an actor in theatre and film, and in addition appeared in dramas and commercials.

Cast / Staff

Directed:MIYAGI Satoshi
Text:KARA Juro
Set design:KAMIIKE Takuya
Costume design:KOMAI Yumiko
Lighting design:KOBAYAKAWA Hiroya
Hair & Makeup design:KAJITA Kyoko

<Cast>
SPAC/ IZUMI Yoji, OKUNO Akihito, KASUGAI Ippei, KATAOKA Sachiko, KAWAMURA Wakana, KIUCHI Kotoko, SUGIYAMA Ken, SUZUKI Haruyo, SEKINE Junko, TAKII Miki, NAGAI Sayako, WAKAMIYA Yoichi

<Staff>
Stage manager:OGAWA Tetsuro
Stage:YAMAZAKI Kaoru, MIWA Ayaka
Sound:SAWADA Yukino, TAKESHIMA Chisato
Lighting operation:MORITA Honoka
Lighting:KAMIYA Reina
Wardrobe:YAMAMOTO Kana
Assistant Set designer:TAKECHI Kanako
Prop assistant:WATANABE Hiroki
Hair & Makeup:TAKAHASHI Norimitsu

Technical director:MURAMATSU Atsushi
Lighting director:HIGUCHI Masayuki
Sound director:SAWADA Yukino

Subtitle translation:Mika EGLINTON, Andrew EGLINTON
Subtitle operation:Ash
Production:UCHIDA Toshiko, MIYAKAWA Eri, KAWAGUCHI Mio, KOMIE Kaoru
Volunteers:TATEBAYASHI Manabu, MATSUMOTO Takanori

Lighting equipment provision:Marumo Electric Co.,Ltd.
Stage-set material provision:Shiratori Tatami Shop,Tsuboi Tatami Shop

Produce:SPAC-Shizuoka Performing Arts Center
Support:The Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan

Notice

*Admission to auditorium is restricted to children of school age and over.
*Seats with no backrest
*Performances will be held even if it rains. As the use of umbrellas is not permitted during a performance, please ensure you have suitable rainwear. You are also advised to bring warm clothes for night performances at this time of year.

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