WORLD PREMIERE FOR JAPANESE HIT PLAY IN ENGLISH
Written and directed by Shoji Kokami
Translated by Amy Kassai
At The Bush Theatre, London, 6th – 30th June 2007
Press Night: Friday 8th June, 7pm
“Haven’t you ever doubted that you’re living in the world of your own delusion? Can you honestly say from the bottom of your heart that you are sure you live in the real world?”
The Bush rounds off its Spring / Summer season with a surreal and original comedy with an international dimension, the world premiere of a new English version of the huge hit Japanese play TRANCE by Shoji Kokami. Kokami is one of Japan’s leading playwrights, and will be directing his own production. This unique, funny and mindbending new play has attracted a first rate cast: Stephen Darcy, Meredith MacNeill and Rhashan Stone.
TRANCE begins with a chance meeting that reunites three old school friends, Masa, Reiko and Sanzo, now making their living as a struggling writer, a psychiatrist, and a drag artist respectively. Masa, as a troubled patient of Reiko’s, slides from a mild sense of disconnection into a full blown delusion that he is an Emperor of Japan with Sanzo as his adoring eunuch servant, who must humour him by laughing at his terrible jokes. But as each of them reveals more of their own life stories, the traumatic experiences that have shaped them and their reignited feelings for each other become entangled. The fabric of their reality becomes warped, and they – and we – begin to doubt their own perception of the real world. While they start to question their own and each other’s sanity, the line between doctor and patient becomes distinctly, and hilariously, blurred.
TRANCE is a quirky, wicked comedy with a profound undercurrent of the quest for love and the true meaning of existence in the modern world. The play has enjoyed critical and commercial success in Japan since its premiere in 1993, and has since been revived almost a thousand times in both amateur and professional productions, a new record. It is seen as particularly striking a chord with young people and is considered a modern classic.
Shoji Kokami’s reputation is unparalleled, described by Yukio Ninagawa as “the leading figure of his generation in Japanese theatre”. Outside Japan, he previously directed a production of his own play THE ANGELS WITH CLOSED EYES in Japanese at the Mermaid Theatre in 1991. TRANCE marks his English language debut, with a wonderful cast: Irish stage actor Stephen Darcy (The Abbey’s Shaughraun); Meredith MacNeill (Confetti, Man Stroke Woman) and actor and playwright Rhashan Stone (RSC, the Young Vic’s Simply Heavenly and Southwark Fair).
“At the bottom of what seems like a light comedy, he portrays the fundamental meaning
of love, focusing on the soul of the lost young generation of our time”
(Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun’s review of a Tokyo production of TRANCE)