Both plays are infused with a strong sense of loneliness, and the need for, pursuit and possession of love. Mishima’s characters become tragic heroes/heroines trapped inside their own desires. Framed within the poetry of the playwright’s modern texts, derived from the constructs of Noh (a major form of classic Japanese music drama) and Kabuki (highly stylised classical Japanese dance drama), these plays explore contemporary issues which have pre-occupied us since time immemorial.
Hanjo 班女 Translated by Donald Keene – In this bittersweet story of unrequited love, the beautiful Hanako looks for her lover, Yoshio, at a train station. With an opened fan in her arms, peering into the face of every man who alights, she returns each time disappointed to her waiting-room bench. Will her lover return to her, or will she continue her lonely search. Meanwhile. Jitsuko, who bought Hanako from her geisha contract, does all she could to retain the status quo.
Hell Screen 地獄変 Yukio Mishima’s adaptation of Akutagawa’s short story – When Yoshihide is commissioned by the Lord Horikawa to paint Hell, he sets about having his sadistic vision recreated live before him so that he may paint it with measured strokes… Revealed in a cup of sake with a crimson maple leaf floating on it, his conceit comes with a hellish twist– causing a beautiful maiden to be roasted alive in the inferno of a falling carriage. Such is the price of true art.
A Yukio Mishima Double Bill: Hanjo & Hell Screen © Marian Alonso
“Fast paced, tightly directed, and beautifully choreographed” – Dave Jordan – What’s On Stage
“StoneCrabs Theatre are to be congratulated for a challenging and informative evening combining the talents of both British and Japanese artists” – Dave Jordan – What’s On Stage
“StoneCrabs present a double-bill of miniatures with exquisite style” – Sam Marlowe – Time Out
“Both of these wonderfully twisted and complex fables of morality are easier written than dramatised. In spite of this StoneCrabs attack the tales with gusto and pathos in equal measure.” – Samuel John – Extra Extra
Hanjo – Directed by Franko Figueiredo
Hell Screen – Directed by Kwong Loke
Cast: Stuart Brown; Rufus Graham; Filip Krenus; Meg Kubota; Seamus Newham; Masayo Okayasu; Ecco Shirasaka; Yuka You-Ri Yamanaka
Set & Costume Designer: Wai-Yin Kwok
Lighting Designer: Pablo Fernandez Baz
Sound Designer: Dinah Mullen
Video Artist: James Scott
Set Builder: Richard Wagner
Costume Maker: Prudence Vonrohrbach
Production Assistant: Danilo Ananias
Choreographer for Hell Screen: Yuka You-Ri Yamanaka
Stage Management: Fleece
Hanjo & Hell Screen were presented as a co-production with the Oval House Theatre and supported by Arts Council of England, Embassy of Japan in London, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Japan Foundation, The Embassy of Japan in London. It was also programmed as part of the UK-Japan 150 Festival.