Peter Sander and Theatre Arts Japan to Present ROBINSON (TO) CRUSOE at Hudson Guild Theatre, 8/28-31
Director of Drama Desk nominated performance "Vivien", Peter Sander collaborates with Theatre Arts Japan (Eriko Ogawa, Artistic Director), and theater company Ku Na'u Ka's music director/composer/percussionist Hiroko Tanakawa to present work of Japan's master playwright, Asaya Fujita's "Robinson (to) Crusoe", an adaptation of D'Introna and Ravicchio's comedy, "Robinson and Crusoe".
Costume design by Jennifer Stimple Kamei (Dogg's Hamlet, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble), Lighting design by Tsubasa Kamei (Don Juan in Hell, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble). Co-Scenic design by Jennifer Stimple Kamei and Tsubasa Kamei. Performed by Al Patrick Jo and Ethan Nguyen*. Live music by Hiroko Tanakawa and Makiko Miyai.
"Robinson (to) Crusoe" is a comedy that deals with serious issues of cultural conflict. The play features two men from Korea and Japan at the end of World War II who find themselves stranded on a remote island. While Japanese solder is in denial of Japan's defeat, Korean man (former employee of Japanese army) refuses to take orders or speak Japanese. Yet, they need to cooperate if they are to survive. Although the main storyline of Fujita's play is the same as the original (two enemies who do not speak a common language but learn to communicate and cooperate after many struggles), in Fujita's version the main characters are identified specifically as Japanese and Korean soldiers after the end of World War II. It should be noted that Korea was occupied by Japan during WWII. Because the nationality of the characters in Fujita's version is known, the play and the characters appear more realistic, making the lessons learned more satisfying and the production more relatable.
Although it has been nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, the relationship between Japan and South Korea remains delicate, and promoting mutual understanding, not only for the U.S. after 9/11, but also for Japan, remains a significant challenge and an important issue. This issue is not only between countries at the national level, but also among younger generations. In spite of the development of social network services that should make global communication more accessible, such new innovations may in fact limit the breadth of our communication. While it may be fun and comfortable to have increased access to communication within your close circle, it may in fact limit the want or need to communicate with those outside of your circle whereby hindering your experiences with the outside world. With this idea in mind, TAJ believes that the timing is right to produce this production which promotes mutual understanding beyond one's intimate circle.
"Robinson (to) Crusoe"
Written by Asaya Fujita
(Adaptation of "Robinson and Crusoe" Written by Nino D'Introna and Giacomo Ravicchio)
Directed by Peter Sander
Music by: Hiroko Tanakawa
Actors: Ethan Nguyen* and Al Patrick Jo
Performance in English. 70min runtime. No Intermission.
Hudson Guild Theatre 441 W 26th St (between 9th and 10th Avenue, Subway C,E to 23rd ST)
August 28th (Thu) 7:30pm, August 29th (Fri) 2pm and 7:30pm, August 30th (Sat) 7:30pm, August 31st (Sun) 2pm.
Tickets are priced free and available to reserve on Theatre Arts Japan website www.TheatreArtsJapan.org from August 1st.
*Pending Equity Approval Showcase.
About Theatre Arts Japan: Theatre Arts Japan (www.TheatreArtsJapan.org) was founded to introduce Japanese plays, methods and techniques to American audience and theater artists through performance and collaboration. By translating and producing Japanese or Japan related plays in the United States, we hope to introduce modern Japanese theatre, culture and points of view to American audiences. Our hope is that with enough exposure, Theatre Arts Japan will break into the theatre of America, not to be seen as only Japanese theatre, but as theatre in itself. Thus, this further colors the already multi-cultural theatre of the United States.
Theatre Arts Japan-KIDS was founded to introduce Japanese culture, point of view and literature to American Children as well Children with Japanese heritage who unless have no or limited access to Japanese Theater productions for children. We introduce Japanese or Japan related plays and stories that are not always considered classic or traditional, OR present classic stories in nontraditional style. Most importantly, Theatre Arts Japan -KIDS provides quality productions that are fun and interesting even for children who have no interest in Japan at all. By doing so, we promote understanding of Japanese culture and acceptance of different cultures by large.
Theatre Arts Japan has been performing to promote understanding of Japanese Culture and Arts through performing arts for all audience from 0 to mature, many of the time, for free, to make ourselves accessible to wide range of audience who are not inclined to see minority culture driven performances.
About the playwright: Asaya Fujita was born in Tokyo in 1934. While studying at Waseda University, he wrote his first play with, titled "The Foot of Mt. Fuji," in 1953. His works, which cover a wide range of subject matter and styles including musicals and children's theatre, can be divided into those that have a strong social message and those that use traditional theatrical techniques. His work, "Rinkai Gensou" is a mystery drama about a family who lost their son while working at a nuclear power plant. Though it was written 30years ago. It suggests the danger of current nuclear system. The play has been reproduced and is touring Japan since Fukushima Nuclear accident. He has created works in collaboration with Russian, Korean and Chinese theater professionals. One of his works for young audience, "Bekkanko-Oni," has been translated into English, German, Russian, Chinese, French and Hungarian, and has become repertoire in theaters for children and young people in those countries.
His best known works include "Japanese Education in 1960"; "Tears for Hiroshima"; "Sansho," "the Bailiff "(winner of the Saida Kyo Drama Award); "Shinodatsuma-ko" (winner of the Art Festival Award) and "When I Met Myself." FUJITA presently works as the head director at three theatre companies. He has also worked as a chairperson of the board of the Japan Directors Association. And he is a board member of Japan playwrights association.
Eriko Ogawa, Artistic Director, Theatre Arts Japan - Eriko currently directs both in Tokyo and New York. Her directing credit includes, CAT "History boys" Setagaya Public Theatre(Tokyo) , "Lonesome West" New National Theater (Tokyo), "Top dog/ Under Dog" Theatre Trum (Osaka), "Opus" New National Theater (Tokyo), "It is coming from the dark" KAAT (Kanagawa), "Home Coming" Runs Fast Production (Japan tour), "Peach Boy in Four Seasons" Japan Society, "Another Sketch of Mind" r-cube productions, "Doubt" Hibikibito theater company(Tokyo), "The Late Henry Moss" CAT Produce / J-Clip(Japan), "The Nature of Captivity" woken'glacier / Mabou Mines, "Orphans" Hibikibito theater company, "The Zoo Story" Plug-In theater company, "My Tokyo Diary" Artists&Artists Production, "The Bus that got cut its eyes" woken'glacier theater company, "Twelve Angry Men" Plug-In theater company. Eriko is a recipient of Yasushi Odashima Best Translation Awards for translating "The Late Henry Moss" in 2010. Yomiuri Best Director's award in 2012. Eriko is the first director to receive Haruko Sugimura Award in 2012. Kinokuniya Award, Koreya Senda Award and Yomiuri Theatre Award in 2013,
Peter Sander, Director - Peter Sander has been a faculty member of the Hofstra University Department of Drama and Dance since 1988. His directing assignments include Vivien, a one-person play about Vivien Leigh, produced in New York by Yukako Yamazoe, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. He directed subsequent productions at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater at the Sacramento Theater Company. His production of Moonchildren at Chicago's Academy Festival Playhouse was nominated for two Jefferson awards: one for Best Production, the other for Best Direction. His production of The Criminals was selected for presentation in the first American College Theater Festival (DC). For three years he was resident director/dramaturg at The Cleveland Play House on NEA and Cleveland Foundation grants. At Brandeis University he directed Morris Carnovsky in his own translation of Brecht's Schweyk in the Second World War and as Falstaff in Henry IV, Part One, a collaboration that led to their co-authored book The Actor's Eye (Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1984). Off-off Broadway he has directed for Turtle Shell Productions and at the Lab Theater. Other regional theatre directing credits include The Pocket Theater (Atlanta), The Mill Mountain Playhouse (Roanoke, VA), The Cambridge Theater Ensemble (MA) The Lost Nation Theater (VT), Theater by the Sea (NH) and The Triangle Repertory Theater (NC). His translations have been presented at The Chelsea Theater Center (NYC), The Women's Interart Theater (NYC), The Guthrie Theater, The Cleveland Play House and the Australian Broadcasting Company and include a translation of Mother Courage, which he directed at Hofstra University with Lanie Kazan. He has acted in major roles at the Missouri Repertory Theater, at the Spingold Theater, Brandeis University, as a guest artist at Ohio University and off-off Broadway. He is married to the actress Mary Jane Wells whom he directed in her one-person version of Pride and Prejudice, which has been seen in New York City and on a national tour. His son Ben produced and starred in the Style Network's The Brini Maxwell Show.
Hiroko Tanakawa, Composer/ Musician - In 1992, Tanakawa began working with world renowned theater director Satoshi Miyagi and his then theater company Ku Na'u Ka as music director, composer and musician. Satoshi Miyagi is known for his new interpretations of age-old classics and large-scale stage productions that often feature actors playing live music on stage. Tanakawa has been responsible for the musical aspects many of Miyagi's most distinguished productions including Tenshu Monogatari (The Castle Tower), Medea and Mahabharata. These works have toured throughout Japan and have been invited to perform around the world at notable venues and festivals in Korea, Morocco, Italy, France, India, Pakistan, China, Tibet and the U.S., to name a few. The production of Mahabharata won the 3rd Asahi Performing Arts Award's Grand Prix and the 2nd Asahi Art Prize. Mahabharata was also chosen to open the Claude Levi-Strauss Theater in Quai Branly, Paris. Tanakawa has continued to work with Miyagi since his appointment as General Artistic Director of the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in 2007. At SPAC, Tanakawa has created musical scores for Peer Gynt which was invited to perform at Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro en Bogota, Columbia (2012), Grimm's Fairy Tales ~The Girl without Hands~ (2011), Yashagaike (based on the original novel Yashagaike by Japanese author Kyoka Izumi, 2012), The Golden Coach (based on Le Carrosse d'or film by Jean Renoir, 2013). Awards and recognition include the 7th Taro Okamoto Memorial Contemporary Art award for her collaborative work with Chikara Matsumoto, an animation artist who is known for his collaborations with live musicians and contemporary dancers and acceptance into a fellowship research program for emerging artists supported by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Jennifer Stimple Kamei, Costume Design/Co Scenic Design - Recent Costume Designs: Dogg's Hamlet/ Cahoot's Macbeth with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Magic Bullets with Buran Theatre. Jennifer was also the Costume and Co Scenic Designer for the Phoenix Theatre production of Don Juan in Hell. She has designed for the Contemporary American Theater Festival in West Virginia, assisted on wardrobe for film, television and the most recent Off-Broadway production of Rent. Her Scenic Painting and Fabrication has been seen in many performances and the 2013 Punk exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Tsubasa Kamei, Lighting Design / Co Scenic Design - Set&Lights: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (The COW); Don Juan in Hell (Paradise Factory); As You Like It (Bernie West Theatre); The Judith of Shimoda (La MaMa Ellen Stewart); White People (Contemporary American Theatre Festival). Lights: Francesca Harper Project (ImPulsTanz, Vienna); The Men Dancers: From the Horse's Mouth (Michael Schimmel Center); No-No Boy (Theatre Row); Utsuryo Kakuryo (HERE Arts Center); Bang On A Can (Japan Society); Small Apple Co. (Joyce Soho). He is also touring with the Japanese shadow puppet theatre company Kakashi-za to Brazil for the puppet festival SESI Bonecos Do Mundo. Tsubasa is the recipient of the Eve Adamson Lighting Design Award.
Al Patrick Jo, Actor - Al received his B.A. in Theatre from the City College of New York. His past acting credits include: Romeo & Juliet (South Brooklyn Shakespeare); Chalk Circle (Yangtze Repertory Theatre); Julius Caesar (Curious Frog Theatre Company); Winter Wedding (Theater for the New City); Longing, Lingering, Lost (The Internationalists); The Ghost Dancers (Stone Soup Theatre Arts); Single Single (New Media Repertory Company); Finian's Rainbow (Harlem Repertory Theatre); Tambourines to Glory (Harlem Repertory Theatre). He can also be seen on the YouTube web-series, Second-Hand NY.
Ethan Nguyen*, Actor - MFA Acting - Columbia University. Recent credits include Ferdinand in The Tempest (CSC - Young Company), Milton in Hell Bent (Between Us Productions), and Bobchinsky in The Government Inspector (Columbia Stages). Favorite roles include The Christmas Spirit in The Black Glove, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, Orgon in Tartuffe, and Arlecchino. Ethan holds a BS in Information & Computer Science from UCI. He is a connoisseur of soufflé.