Shūji Terayama film screenings at TIFF and two stage revivals at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

The Shūji Terayama renaissance continues.

Marking 80 years since his birth, a special programme of Terayama film screenings features as part of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival this month.

And then in December comes a “remake” of Sho o seteyo, machi e deyō (Throw Out Your Books, Go Out Into the Streets) at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre by some unusual collaborators.

Terayama made three versions of this work; all share the same title but are discrete. The book (1967) is a collection of essays, with the original edition illustrated by Tadanori Yokoo and then republished in a later, stripped-down edition, with a follow-up in 1971. The play (1968-70), performed by Terayama’s troupe Tenjō Sajiki, was a loose series of vignettes, acted in part by actual runaways reading their own poems. The more famous film (1971) was a bravado, highly cinematic and experimental tale of a young man.

terayama shuji revival sho o suteyo machi e deyo fujita takahiro mum & gypsy

The new production, running from December 5th to December 27th at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre’s Theatre East studio space, is adapted and directed by Takahiro Fujita, who is known primarily for his own work with his company mum & gypsy. Strictly speaking, Fujita is not reviving the original theatre piece but remaking the screenplay. This is a trend now: Ryuzanji also produced a stage adaptation of the Terayama film Death in the Country back in 2009, which was revived in 2012 and 2014.

In terms of credits, this is quite a flashy production and as such has attracted a fair bit of press attention. The lead role is played by Nijirō Murakami (Naomi Kawase’s Still the Water), while the popular comedian and novelist Naoki Matayoshi also appears in video footage. The costumes are by fashion brand minä perhonen.

The production is paired with a revival of Lemming (1979), a later Terayama piece and once again directed by Ishinha’s Yukichi Matsumoto (he also directed a revival at Parco in 2013). It runs at the main Playhouse from December 6th to December 20th.

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