BWW Review: Toho Stage Produces BRACKEN MOOR at Theatre Creation in Tokyo
FOR JAPANESE, CLICK HERE!
An eerie play, Bracken Moor, written by Laurence Olivier Award-winner Alexi Kaye Campbell, is premiering in Japan with an all-star cast!
The suspense drama about the spirit of a 12-year-old boy coming back to tell his parents how he died in the mine behind their house is creeping out Japanese audiences at Theatre Creation in Tokyo. It's a small cast, but the themes are heavy, and very relatable to a culture who believes that even the most inanimate objects have Kami, or spirit.
The show starts in a blackout, placing you at the bottom of an old mine with the boy who fell in. You can hear the fear in his voice as he nervously calls out for his mother and father not to leave him alone. As the echo permeates the darkness, the stage lights suddenly pop on, inviting you into a gorgeous downstairs study of a massive 1930's Yorkshire House.
The lighting and prop effects of this production are impressively immersive, and could very well be the highlight of the performance. The breeze softly blowing the window curtains makes you believe something else could be there. The actual rain trickling down the 2nd story window upstage center during a lightning storm makes you forget you are sitting safely inside a theater. Awkward tension weighs heavy on the audience as ice clinks in a whisky glass against the silence. The atmosphere becomes a character in its own right, helping the story's progression.
The pace moves slowly during the first half, but, after intermission, the action really picks up and, with all the layers finally revealed, who's side are you on? The reclusive mother (Tae Kimura) who wants desperately to talk to her son one more time? Or the best friends who want to leave their grieving in the past? Terence (Masaki Okada), who becomes possessed by the young boy's spirit, presents topics of parenthood, love, loss, mental health, and grief which can all be understood by audiences anywhere in the world.
Bracken Moor plays at Theatre Creation in Tokyo from August 14th - 27th. Tickets can be purchased from the Official Website (Japanese Only).
English translation of the Japanese Press Release:
"What is the truth? The dead boy wants to tell you...
What does the title Bracken Moor mean?
Bracken is a type of fern, and Moor means the wilderness or wasteland. In the play, there is a coal mine which was closed decades ago. The area has been covered in a field of Bracken ferns, thus, being renamed Bracken Moor. Since modern times, people have placed a spirituality, and mystery, onto material things.
The story takes place in 1937, Yorkshire, England. One day, the Avery family comes to visit Harold Pritchard, a wealthy coal mine owner. The families used to be friends, but, 10 years ago, Harold's only son, Edgar (12 years old at the time), died after accidentally falling into an old mine shaft in the wilderness of Bracken Moor, which tore the families apart. Since then, Edgar's mother, Elizabeth has been locked away in her house. So the Avery's have planned to visit for a few days to encourage her. When Elizabeth reunites with the Avery's only son, Terence, who was Edgar's best friend, she starts talking passionately about Edgar.
Every night from the day the Avery's arrived, the terrifying screams from Terence echoed through the mansion. Terence says that Edgar's spirit is haunting him and he can hear him whispering, trying to convey something. Finally, Edgar's spirit possesses Terence, and he leads both sets of parents to the accident site at Bracken Moore. Finally, the unknown truth of the accident is gradually revealed."
To read this article in Japanese, CLICK HERE!
*Photo credit belongs to ©Toho Co., Ltd. Theatrical Division. All Rights Reserved. All images used in this article are official promotional images provided by TOHO CO., LTD.
Review by Larisa Amaya-Baron.