The Princess Mononoke stage play adaptation announced in the Fall has finally come to fruition with a performance at England’s Whole Hog Theatre.
Remarkably, the entire production was put together solely by art director Alexandra Luta. As a result of all the effort she put into it, however, she and the rest of the cast were able to receive a standing ovation on opening night.
Ms. Luta was deeply motivated by her feelings for the original film to make this adaptation, and last spring began to work on the script for the play and sent a test shot for Hayao Miyazaki to look at, where she received approval to perform the play in England. Joe Hisashi’s original music is used throughout, and the gods are puppets operated by several people. The curse from the Forest God which occurs at the end of the movie is shown through video on the stage, with the water and the god itself being represented by a vinyl tarp. The set and costumes are also made from a large variety of plastic bottles and scrap wood.
Overall, Ms. Luta hoped to give a new feeling to Miyazaki’s original work, and hoped that for those in the audience who had seen the movie, it would find it just as moving. Because so much of the original action in the movie utilizes a lot of Japanese cultural elements, a great amount of effort went into creating the puppets and making sure it was accurate. There was even care taken to include slow motion scenes to better match the action or feeling of a scene.
After the play has finished it’s run in England at the New Diorama Theatre, they plan on performing at the AIA Theatre for a 5-6 day run.