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Friday, Dec. 22, 2006

A bluebird for the kids, and a dark Cinderella

For this winter vacation season, theater company EN presents a new, original play for children, "Aoitori Kotori Nazenaze Aoi? (Bluebird, Why are you Blue?)," at Theater X in Ryogoku, continuing a tradition of appealing to young theatergoers since it began in 1981

Aoi Kotori Nazenaze Aoi?
The cast of "Aoitori Kotori Nazenaze Aoi?" PHOTO COURTESY OF THEATER COMPANY EN

Written by EN regular, 69-year-old Minoru Betsuyaku, who is well known for his absurdist dramas, "Aoitori" is his ninth children's work for the company. Based on the famed 1909 fairy tale "The Blue Bird," by Belgian Nobel Prize-winning author Maurice Maeterlinck, the play tells the story of the brother and sister Tyltyl and Mytyl, who go off wandering through the woods to find their symbol of happiness, the bluebird. In the end, though, they find their happiness not in the woods but at home.

Rather than just retell this tale on stage, Betsuyaku expands on the meaning of the search from just an individual quest to a more global awareness, when the young hero and heroine discover that the wood itself is being devastated. Now they must find a way to keep nature, including the animals living in the wood, and people in harmony. But are they in time to solve the crisis? Certainly, finding out the answer to this question at Theater X will be entertaining not only for children, but for grownups lucky enough to accompany them.

"Aoitori Kori Nazenaze Aoi" runs till Dec. 28 at Theater X (Cai), a 3-min. walk from JR Ryogoku Station. For more details, call Theater Company EN on (03) 5828-0654, or visit www.en21.co.jp

Another seasonal offering to tempt theatergoers of all ages comes in the shape of "Cinderella," the first-ever fairy tale staged by the individualistic Pappa Ta-rahumara performing arts company founded in 1982 by renowned dramatist Hiroshi Koike. Named Tarahumara after an ancient, mystery-enshrouded place in Mexico, the company has long been known for its creativity, frequently blending together theater, dance, visual arts and music -- and lately, CG. This time the program explores the hidden and dark side of its enchanting heroine, Cinderella, adding intrigue and an erotic conspiracy to the traditional plot. The tale is presented in avant-garde modern dress, and with a splendid ballroom dance scene to top it all off.

"Cinderella" runs till Dec. 24 at Superdeluxe, a 3-min. walk from Roppongi Station. For more details, call SAI Inc. at (03) 3385-2066, or visit pappatara.com

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