Ahuri Theatre, in association with Why Not Theatre, announces the world premiere of A Fool’s Life, a fantastical tale of a family man coming undone, conceived and directed by Ahuri Theatre Artistic Director Dan Watson. Inspired by the life and work of celebrated Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke, regarded as the “father of the Japanese short story,” A Fool’s Life opens September 30 and runs to October 8 at The Theatre Centre, with a preview on September 29. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre will also present a version of the play on September 23.
Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892-1927) is one of the most celebrated writers in Japan and is best known as the author of the short stories adapted into Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar-winning film Rashomon. The author of over 150 short stories, Akutagawa struggled with declining mental health before committing suicide at the age of 35.
A Fool’s Life is performed by an international ensemble including Richard Lee (multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee for his performances and recent winner for Outstanding Sound Design for his work on Cahoots Theatre Company’s Paper Series), Claire Calnan (named one of NOW Magazine’s Top Theatre Artists of 2009, The Exchange Rate Collective’s Appetite), Derek Kwan (fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company’s Banana Boys), Julian DeZotti (Theatre Smith Gilmour’s upcoming adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, star of the recent film New Year) and Japan-based actress Haruna Kondo (Ahuri Theatre’s Peer Gynt and Yabu No Naka: Distruthed). Kagura drummer Gaishi Ishizaka of Japan provides live percussion. Sean Frey designs the set and projections and André du Toit designs the lighting and stage manages. Dora Award-winning artist Ravi Jain, Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre, is the producer.
Using and adapting Akutagawa’s own words, A Fool’s Life tells a story eerily reminiscent of this great writer’s turbulent life, his battles with mental illness and what led to his eventual suicide. Through a series of flashbacks and reminiscences, the character of Akutagawa shares the events that shaped him, and brings to life three of his short stories: The Nose, Horse Legs and Hell Screen. Dark, bizarre and absurd, this multilingual piece (primarily in English with Japanese) combines elements of movement, live drumming, shadow puppetry and projections on a set made of paper.
Ahuri Theatre also presents a special event celebrating Japanese performing arts at The Theatre Centre the afternoon of October 1 as part of Culture Days. The event includes workshops in Kagura Drumming and Nihon Buyo dance, as well as Japanese storytelling performances and readings. After that evening’s performance of A Fool’s Life, The Theatre Centre hosts free screenings of classic Japanese animé and monster movies with live musical accompaniment from 10pm – 3am to coincide with Nuit Blanche.
Ahuri Theatre was formed in June 2005 from the work of its founding members at l’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. The company’s principal activities have been in both Japan and Canada. Its performances include Peer Gynt (in partnership with the Norwegian Embassy of Tokyo) and Yabu No Naka, which played to sold-out houses at both the Montreal and Toronto Fringe Festivals, and most recently played at the world renowned Setagaya Theatre in Tokyo. A Fool’s Life was developed in Toronto and Japan through the support of the Japan Foundation as well as the Toronto, Ontario and Canadian Arts Councils.
Ahuri Theatre, in association with Why Not Theatre, presents the world premiere of
A FOOL’S LIFE
Written and directed by Dan Watson
Featuring Claire Calnan, Julian DeZotti, Haruna Kondo, Derek Kwan and Richard Lee.
Live percussion by Gaishi Ishizaka.
Set design and projections by Sean Frey. Lighting design and stage management by André du Toit.
Producer Ravi Jain.
Opens September 30 and runs to October 8, 2011 (preview September 29)
at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West
Monday – Saturday, 8PM. Tickets: Tuesday – Saturday $20, Monday & Preview Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC)
Theatre Centre Box Office: 416-538-0988 or visit www.ahuritheatre.com or www.totix.ca
Special Presentation Friday, September 23, 2011 at 8PM
at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court
$15 Regular/$12 for JCCC Members
Culture Days / Nuit Blanche Event
Saturday, October 1 at The Theatre Centre
12pm – 6pm – Culture Days Events
10pm – 3am – Japanese animé and monster movies screenings
FREE TO ATTEND