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Star Wars is Getting a Kabuki Play Adaptation in Japan

Everyone’s favourite space opera will take the stage in Tokyo at the end of November.

by Aditya Mirchandani
07 November 2019, 6:32am

Photo by koalamoose via Unsplash

First came the films, then the TV shows. Now, Star Wars will be turned into a play, a kabuki, to be exact.

The one-night-only performance will be held in Tokyo on November 28 at a still undisclosed location, Sora News reported.

The play is titled “Star Wars Kabuki - Ren and Three Light Sabers,” according to Nerdist, and will feature prominent scenes from the most recent episodes of the Skywalker saga.

The production has even recruited a titan of the kabuki scene, Ebizo Ichikawa, who will not only be supervising the adaptation, but will also star in the titular role of the conflicted antagonist Kylo Ren.

“Star Wars Kabuki will depict the love and loss felt by the Skywalker family over the past 40-plus years,” Ichikawa said in a press release. The future Kylo Ren said that he’s a huge fan of the franchise and expressed enthusiasm for the project.

“Whether you’re a Star Wars lover or a kabuki lover, it’s a great piece to enjoy,” he said.

Kabuki is a classic theatre art form known for its use of grandiose costume design, extravagant makeup, and elaborate dramatisations. The performances are typically centred around historic events from the Edo period and heroic tales of love and conflict. Not a far cry from the stories of long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

True fans would also know that the kabuki aesthetic is actually very similar to Star Wars’. From the painted face of Darth Maul, to the elaborate headdress donned by Queen Amidala, there are obvious parallels between everyone's favourite space opera and the UNESCO recognised Japanese art form.

Most importantly, Star Wars creator George Lucas is known for his affinity for Japanese culture. He has even admitted that he drew deeply from the works of director Akira Kurosawa, Buddhist teachings, martial art forms, and samurai philosophy while working on Star Wars.

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