BWW Previews: New OLIVER TWIST at Tokyo Geijutsu Gekijou Playhouse
A boy pulls out the shortest string from the bunch. He lost. At dinner, the other children stare at him with hungry eyes. He gathers up his bowl, spoon, and courage, and makes his way towards the domineering grown-ups. With his puppy dog eyes, he looks up and begs, "Please, sir. I want some more."
Oliver Twist's long journey of life-lessons starts with that infamous phrase, which has charmed audiences all over the world for decades. Charles Dickens' book, Oliver Twist, has been transformed into black and white films, colorful movies, stage musicals, dramatic cartoons, children's books, and the list goes on.
This time, a passionate group of performers in Tokyo, Japan are presenting their thoughtful interpretation of the story of Oliver Twist. The show is being produced by Kishimoto Koki and Kojima Ryouta, the directors of RKX, which is a platform creating opportunities for actors to be involved in the creation process. The goal is to break the mold of "directors on top," and to allow actors freedom of interpretation.
Although they do stick to the main story, this version of Oliver Twist has all original music and lyrics, with fun changes in store, like the Artful Dodger being played by an adult instead of a child, and other interesting surprises. Whether the story is told in English or Japanese, the language, they say, doesn't take away from the important messages and feelings which they want their audiences to experience. The themes of love, self-confidence, and strengths and weaknesses are universal, and everyone can relate to this show in some way.
Hear from the cast of Oliver Twist how they hope you, as the audience, will grow with them:
Mirai Kazuki and Yamashiro Riki
Oliver Twist, double cast
"From the outside, Oliver looks shy and doesn't have confidence.But on the inside he is strong and has confidence.We are trying to show how strong Oliver is on the inside."
"I think Oliver Twist's original author, Charles Dickens, had an intention to portray the weak characters' points of view. I feel a sense of responsibility to show the audience the bright side and dark side of society through Fagin, who is a symbol of the weak."
"I don't want the audience to feel too scared of Bill Sykes, but I want to play him realistically. I'd really like to show how important it is to be strong enough to say "No" to yourself. So many times we know we are wrong, but, because of our pride, we will try to justify ourselves to prove why we are right. Since this is an original Japanese version of the story, we can include deeper themes, like why humans have to constantly justify themselves. I hope the audience can notice Oliver be strong against the influences of his environment."
"There are so many types of love all over the world. The audience will wonder why Nancy loves Bill, and might feel that they don't get a happy ending. But, for these two characters, their love is true; which can be realized in the end. Another example is Oliver's love, which shows honesty. I hope the audience can recognize how love transcends all people."
Jack Dawkins (Artful Dodger)
"All the characters in this show are hurting and missing something important. In real life, we all have some type of baggage, too. That's what makes us human. The best thing we can do is recognize that and keep moving forward."
"I want the audience to see that there are so many types of love. Whether the ending is happy or sad is up to you, but what's constant is love. Everyone can relate because everyone is trying to know what love is. Also, I hope we can stop taking ourselves so seriously, and try to see through other people's points of view. For example, you can see through Oliver's eyes how he yearns for the love of his peers and the people around him. So I hope you can see many different forms of love."
The show opens July 11th, 2019 and will run until the 14th at Tokyo Geijutsu Gekijou Playhouse.
Tickets can be purchased on the Official Website (Japanese only).
To read this article in Japanese, please CLICK HERE.
*All images used in this article are official promotional images provided by the company producing Oliver Twist.