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Friday, Feb. 3, 2012

Kyoto theater troupe combines Japanese novels for newest production

Special to The Japan Times

For the second installment in their series of plays based on great works of Japanese literature, Kyoto-based theater company Chiten will tackle — in one performance — the novels "Toka Tonton" and "Shayo (A Declining Sun)" by popular novelist Osamu Dazai (1909-48). The resulting piece is titled "Toka Tonton to."

"Toka Tonton" is a short and witty novel about a young man's apathy; while "Shayo" is considered more classic Dazai, centering on the innermost thoughts of four members of an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times.

Chiten is led by imaginative dramatist Motoi Miura, who said recently that he thinks Dazai's colloquial style is very theatrical, and that this time he is aiming to present the melancholy in Japanese arts, politics and self-awareness in a way that is relevant to present-day Japan. To help him do this, architect Riken Yamamoto will create a stage set that depicts a devastated postwar Tokyo.

On Feb. 13 and 14, the production will include performances with English subtitles for non-Japanese speakers.

"Toka Tonton to" runs from Feb. 9 to 14 at Kanagawa Arts Theater (KAAT) in Yokohama. The theater is a 5-min. walk from Nihon Odori Station on the Minato Mirai Line. Tickets are ¥2,000-¥3,500. For more information, visit www.chiten.org.

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