Shoji Kokami (Trance) is staging his play Halcyon Days at London’s Riverside Studios, from August 23 to September 18.
In a translation by Aya Ogawa and with a local British cast, here is how the creative team describe the play:
Examining the cult popularity of suicide websites in contemporary Japanese culture, the play looks at a decade where world conflicts are sensationally streamed on twenty-four hour rolling news channels using terms like ‘collateral damage’ and ‘human shields’. Even terrorist organisations boast about their achievements on YouTube, and chronic depression is catered for by the increase of ‘informative’ suicide websites. Are people becoming more jaded with their real existence? Has life lost sanctity and meaning?
Halcyon Days is a dark comedy that follows the story of three people and one ghost who meet on a suicide website. Will they become another statistic in an increasingly worrying trend or, beneath the will to die, can they find in each other a reason to survive.
So, pretty zeitgeist.
There seems quite a bit money behind this production, judging from all the high-profile sponsorship, and certainly enough for the team to pursue a PR campaign. It will likely get some London press coverage but hopefully better reviews than Trance at the Bush in 2007, which drew unfavorable comparisons to Elling and Blue/Orange (despite pre-dating both plays by many years).