Monday, November 10, 2008

Black Jack hits the Stage

As yet another part of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's birth, a special stage presentation based on Black Jack will be making its debut.

The story of "The Disowned Son" will be adapted into a form of traditonal Japanese theater called "kyogen", and will open on December 19th and 20th in Tezuka's home town of Takarazuka, which is famous for its theatrical performances. This is the first time ever that a comic is being used as the basis for a kyogen performance. Kyogen is meant to be a funnier, more exaggerated style of performance, so it will be interesting to find out how the stories of a darker character like Black Jack will translate to the stage.

However, this is not the first time that Black Jack has been depicted in live action. You can read about the Takarazuka Grand Theater's all female cast's rendition of Black Jack in 1994 thanks to Tezuka in English.

You can read more details on about this new kyogen version of Black Jack The Mainichi Daily News website, or click the link below to read an archived copy right here.

Comic character 'Black Jack' to come to life on stage

TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo -- He may not have his trademark black coat, nor his surgical equipment, but one of acclaimed comic artist Osamu Tezuka's most famous characters, surgical genius Kuroo "Black Jack" Hazama, will be stepping off the page and onto the stage as part of celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the manga legend's birth.

The comic is being adapted for a comic variety of traditional Japanese theater called kyogen, a style related to the more famous forms of noh and kabuki, by the Takarazuka Foundation for Culture Promotion in Hyogo Prefecture.

"This is the first-ever adaptation of a comic for kyogen theater, and we're looking forward to sharing this 'modern classic' with our audiences," said the foundation.

The stage version of Black Jack will be directed by and star Okura school actor Takashi Zenchiku in the title role. The script was written by Tokiko Kawaratani -- a protege of Yataro Okura XXV, the head of the Okura school -- and is based on volume 164 of the manga, "The Disowned Son," the story of an outcast son who studies medicine in order to cure his mother.

"I feel that we're living in a world where family relations are behind many of our social ills, and I want to portray Tezuka's story of filial love as a kyogen of human drama," said Zenchiku.

The stage version of Black Jack will open on Dec. 19 and 20 at the Sorio Hall in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Enquiries (in Japanese) can be made to the Takarazuka Foundation for Culture Promotion at (0797) 85-8844.