News: A fusion of traditional and contemporary Japan in Busu & The Damask Drum

News: A fusion of traditional and contemporary Japan in Busu & The Damask Drum

StoneCrabs & Busu Theatre presents the UK Premiére of Busu & The Damask Drum at the Soho Theatre before it plays at the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

StoneCrabs Theatre (UK) in association with Busu Theatre (Japan) are bringing an all-female cast of Japanese performers in a double bill of updated short Japanese classics.

Hailed as “Mishima meets Manga”, Busu and The Damask Drum unite traditional and contemporary Japanese practices in a show that is fun, celebratory and thought provoking. This Japanese manga comic inspired show, features richly costumed performers, accompanied by live folk music and Awa dance.

Irreverent and playful, the show updates Yukio Mishima’s adaptations of Busu (a Kyogen farce) and The Damask Drum (a Noh drama) making them accessible for a modern Western audience.

Mishima, who committed ritual suicide in 1970 after the failure of his attempted military coup, was one of Japan’s most influential 20th century writers and was considered for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was renowned for his work to update traditional forms of theatre and make them relevant to contemporary audiences. And now Tokyo’s Busu Theatre and StoneCrabs are collaborating on a 21st-century retelling of the tales.

Busu (The Delicious Poison) is a comedy where the servants Tarō-kaja and Jirō-kaja are entrusted with a precious antique by their master, but told that the item is extremely dangerous and they should never touch it; naturally, the temptation proves irresistible.

In the Damask Drum a gardener-cum-caretaker falls in love with a lawyer. Despite 101 love letters, the lawyer is unmoved. She cruelly sets him an impossible challenge with the promise of her love if he succeeds – the consequences are tragic and supernatural. Director Franko Figueiredo says:

“Like Mishima we want to bring traditional Japanese forms to a new audience, making them accessible and enjoyable for audiences all round the world. These are two miniature gems – a light comedy and a tragic ghost story – that we are retelling using a combination of dialogue, dance and music that we hope will transcend the barriers of language and appeal to audiences of every age.”

 

Busu & The Damask Drum plays Greenside @ Royal Terrace from 14 – 26 August. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.

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