Spirited Away Stage Production shares their first images
The spirits arrive on stage! Toho DeerWe are collaborating with Studio Ghibli to adapt the 2001 fantasy film, Taken away as if by magic, at a stage performance. As the show unfolds in Tokyo, creator and puppeteer Toby Olié shared a handful of production shots on his Twitter account.
Taken away as if by magic (title Sen to Chiro no Kamikakushi in Japanese) follows Chihiro, a little girl who finds herself trapped in the spirit world. After her parents are turned into pigs, Chihiro drops her name and begins working at a bathhouse to keep them alive. The bathhouse is run by the witch Yubaba, who gives Chihiro the new name of Sen in order to keep her under control. Meanwhile, Chihiro has friends in Haku, the dragon boy who helps her stay alive and remember herself. The film was highly praised by critics and audiences alike, winning numerous awards for its stunning visuals.
The adaptation of the show is directed by two-time Tony Award winner John Caird (Wretched, Nicholas Nickleby). He is also Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. According to The Hollywood ReporterToshio Suzuki said he and the rest of Studio Ghibli (including the film’s director, Hayao Miyazaki) were confident in Caird’s abilities to adapt their story to the stage.
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision; he is a person you can trust. I can not wait to see spirited away grow on stage under his guidance.
Bring magic to the stage
This isn’t the first time a Studio Ghibli movie has been staged. In 2019, a kabuki stage adaptation of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind created. The show was based on director Hayao Miyazaki’s original manga and the first independently produced feature film. What makes the kabuki show so remarkable is that Miyazaki’s film only adapted the first two volumes of his manga, while the kabuki show adapts the entire story. The show only lasted three weeks, but a recording was officially released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Meanwhile, with Taken away as if by magic, things seem to be improving. The show will continue in Tokyo until March 29, 2022. Then it will start touring different cities in Japan. From Tokyo, to Osaka, then Fukuoka in May, Sapporo for part of June, then Nagoya for the rest of June and July. Toho hopes to bring the show to other parts of Asia and Europe, but that will likely depend on the success of its tour in its home country.
It’s always nice to see stories adapt in new and refreshing ways. The unforgettable drawings of Taken away as if by magic seem to fit the scene perfectly, with her story of growth and determination. It sounds like quite a magical experience to be able to see these artists on stage, and with the team hoping to go all the way to Europe, perhaps extending the tour to America could be a possibility in the future.
Alternatively, with the Studio Ghibli theme park still in development, the idea of the show finding a permanent home in the park isn’t too far-fetched an idea and might be one Toho might consider! If you find yourself in Japan, it really does sound like an unforgettable experience.
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