"The Last Jedi" hype train rolls through Japan with sci-fi take on classical theater.
With the premiere of The Last Jedi closer than ever (but still feeling awfully far away), Japan has already started hyping the latest installment in the beloved sci-fi trilogy of trilogies. Episode VIII writer and director Rian Johnson made a visit to Kyoto's Byodo-in Temple, where prayers were made in hopes of another box office success. And he wasn't alone: Kylo Ren and a pair of Stormtroopers were on hand as well as a team of classically trained actors ready to present their take on the franchise.
R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader were reimagined in the context of Kyogen, a masked comedic style of Japanese theater. Kyogen developed alongside Noh, serving as an intermission piece at times, but is deliberately funny where Noh is purely dramatic. Like Italy's commedial dell'arte, it has stock characters and makes use of masks.
The Star Wars Kyogen performance was headed up by Senzaburo Shigeyama, a modern master of the style. The short performance featured Vader, Threepio, and Artoo in the stock roles of the Master and the two servants Taro-kaja and Jiro-kaja. Johnson said later that he loved the performance, especially that of Vader -- who admitted that he hadn't had a chance to rehearse his role because their rehearsal had been rained out.
The back drop for the performance was created by bujinga sumi-e artist Masayuki Kojo, who has also brought to life characters from One Piece and Naruto.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi premieres worldwide on December 15.
Source: Cinema Today
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.