The Marsh Berkeley Presents THE JAP BOX

Article Pixel
The Marsh Berkeley Presents THE JAP BOX

Through monologue and magic, Japanese American magician David Hirata will excavate the mysteries and stories of magician Namigoro Sumidagawa in The Jap Box, making its debut at The Marsh Berkeley this October. In 1866, Sumidagawa became the first Japanese citizen in over 200 years to receive a passport to leave the country. As part of the "Imperil Japanese Troupe," he dazzled audiences across Victorian America with his exotic stage magic and became a media celebrity. By the time Sumidagawa returned home, his prize trick had been appropriated by American magicians in yellowface and rechristened as the "Jap Box." Over a century later, Hirata unveils illusions and surprises from this Japanese American story in his latest solo show, The Jap Box. Post-show talkbacks, featuring experts in everything from history to magic, will be offered throughout the run (dates below). The Jap Box will be presented October 26 - December 1, 2019 (press opening: November 2) with performances at 5:00pm Saturdays and 2:00pm Sundays at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. For tickets ($20-$35 sliding scale; $55 and $100 reserved) or more information, the public may visit or call The Marsh Box office at 415-282-3055 (open Monday through Friday, 1:00pm-4:00pm).

The Jap Box premiered at the San Diego International Fringe Festival in June 2018, where it won the festival award for "Outstanding World Premiere Show." Part theatrical story, part magic show, The Jap Box explores illusions of race and identity through the magic of two cultures.

For over 30 years, David Hirata has amazed audiences throughout the Bay Area with theatrical magic creations at the Exploratorium, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Oakland Museum, among many others. Hirata's pervious shows include Kanji by Starlight at The Marsh and American Wizards at the California Magic Dinner Theater.

Free talkback engagements following certain performances of The Jap Box are:

Saturday, October 26: Talkback with Frederick Schodt, historian, translator, and author of Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe.

Saturday, November 2: Talkback with magician Christian Cagigal, who has been performing his trademark blend of theatre, storytelling, and magic as an Artist-in-Residence at EXIT Theatre in San Francisco since 2006 and internationally since 2009. Cagigal's topic of discussion will focus on magician Henry "Box" Brown and "the other" in magic.

The Marsh is known as "a breeding ground for new performance." It was launched in 1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest." The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it "one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible."

For information or to order tickets visit or call (415) 282-3055 (Monday through Friday, 1:00pm-4:00pm).

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You