Musical drama at Okinawa National Theatre

Last night I attended a performance of music, dance and drama at Okinawa’s National Theatre in Urasoe. The main performance was the premiere of a short musical drama called ‘Akai Kijimuna to Aoi Kijimuna’ which was produced by Ryukyu Geino Taishikan. The drama was written and directed by the talented Megumi Tomita who I first met when she acted the role of Akemi in the movie Karakara. She based the drama on a famous old Japanese story which she adapted for an Okinawan setting complete with kijimuna (Ryukyu tree fairy or spirit) and Uchinaguchi (Okinawan language).

kijimuna

The cast of three included Sayuri Chibana who was also in charge of choreography while the music was an unusual but successful pairing of violin and sanshin. Before the staging of the drama there were also some performances of classical Ryukyu dances. The musical drama was a great success and is well worth seeing. It also attracted a wide-ranging audience judging from the happy faces of young and old alike. In adapting this for Okinawa it also helps serve the very useful purpose of maintaining the identity and traditions of these islands and introducing them to much younger audiences.

Megumi Tomita (left) in rehearsal with the cast.

Megumi Tomita (left) in rehearsal with the cast

Also in the audience last night were Okinawan singers Kanako Horiuchi and Shakari’s Chiaki, as well as Karakara film producer Takako Miyahira and 2nd assistant director Daniel Lopez.

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