As a token of appreciation for loyal supporters, the Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) and The Actors Studio (Malaysia) are giving away 20 complimentary tickets to the lucky winners who can answer the following simple questions! All you have to do is just click here and stand a chance to win yourself a pair of complimentary tickets to watch the Opening Performance of “Rashomon 2020” this Saturday, 29 February, 8PM at klpac!
THE rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband, as told by four witnesses who all contradict each other, makes for a spellbinding movie. Oh hey, it is and Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film “Rashomon”, which won many accolades, is set for a fourth restaging by The Actors Studio (TAS) come month end.
The story is that the body of the samurai is discovered by a woodcutter. Just before the crime took place, a priest passes the couple. A bandit comes forward to claim responsibility for the crime, and the woodcutter and priest are summoned to testify at the trial. So begins the recounting of the crime.
But who is telling the truth? No two people ever experience an event exactly the same. Today, we call this the Rashomon effect and the Rashomon principle. Some even sayd that multiple narratives offer only interpretations of something. It’s postmodernism, it’s post-truth, hey, it’s even politics, I say.
“This production is tri-lingual in its presentation: English, Japanese and Mandarin,” says its director and TAS co-founder Joe Hasham.
“Both actors playing the central characters are Japanese, and the dialogue of these two characters is totally in Japanese.”
Reprising his role as the bandit Tajomaru, from the 2013 staging is Japanese actor Doppo Narita, who has appeared in several productions by TAS.
“The previous staging of ‘Rashomon’ and this ‘Rashomon’ is quite different actually,” says Doppo.
“The previous one was modernised as a Yakuza story in Osaka. This one is the original ‘Rashomon’ following the exact time period and historical background. So even though I play the same character, this Tajomaru is quite different from the previous Tajomaru.
“My challenge is to create a character without traces of the previous Tajomaru. I’m speaking my lines in Japanese on stage, the language is also not modern Japanese. It’s old Japanese from 1140.
“Being a wild man in 1140 is my challenge,” says the 52year-old who made his debut on the Malaysian stage in Pulau Antara under the direction of Jo Kukathas in 2001.
Doppo, who has made Malaysia his home base for creating theatre, says the country with its variety of cultures and peoples, offers many possibilities to create intercultural performing arts. “My dream is to create an amazing intercultural play.”
The other Japanese on stage for the TAS restaging is Maiya Goshima, who plays the wife. An acclaimed ballet dancer and actress who is fluent in Japanese, French and English, Maiya last appeared on the Malaysian stage for TAS’ 2014 dance version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Also in the cast are Datuk Faridah Merican (judge), Omar Ali (Samurai husband), Lee Swee Keong (priest), Ho Lee Ching (the medium), Amelia Chen (Gatekeeper 1), Chloe Tan (Gatekeeper 2), Aiman Aiman (Gatekeeper 3), Adam Hamizan (Gatekeeper 4), Tristan Zijuin (Gatekeeper 5), Nabil Musawir (Man 1), Clarence Kuna (Man 2) and Glamorique (court official).
Hasham says this latest production will present an original and totally devised soundtrack by a team of musicians headed by Khairil Imran. The others are Coebar Abel, Endee Ahmad and Ian Francis Khoo.
“Actually, it’s akin to a film score, with music and special effects throughout the entire duration.
“Every production of Rashomon staged by TAS has relied heavily on the use of original music, played live. Because the play has many elements of physical action, we feel that live music helps to accentuate the dramatic highlights of the storytelling.
“The musicians will be able to see the action on stage, via video, and this will allow them to react accordingly, in real time.”
Hasham hopes Malaysians will be taken on a wonderful journey of confusion, beauty and truth.
“If the audience leaves the theatre not knowing which account of the ‘truth’ to believe, then I feel that we would have succeeded.”
** Cover pic is of Omar Ali and Doppo Narita in rehearsal.
(with surtitles in English)
Warning: Show contains physical and sexual violence.
Where: Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac, Jalan Strachan, Sentul West, Kuala Lumpur)
When: Feb 29-March 8, 8pm with Sunday 3pm matinees
Tickets: RM100 / RM80/ RM60 (with concessions)
Weekday Mania (March 3-4, 8pm, tickets at RM60 / RM40)
Call 03 4047 9000 (klpac) or 7880 7999 (ProTicket), or visit www.proticket.com.my