The Press Room
AFTER THE QUAKE PITCH TWO:
Company One brings Murakami to the Stage
This summer, Company One brings the work of famed author Haruki Murakami to the stage with its production of AFTER THE QUAKE, a play based on a collection of short stories set at the time following the catastrophic 1995 Kobe earthquake. The piece was adapted for the stage and originally directed by Frank Galati, best known for his Tony award-winning stage adaptation of OF MICE AND MEN, which debuted at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre before transferring to Broadway.
Running July 17 to August 15 at the Boston Center for the Arts, AFTER THE QUAKE is right in line with the company’s aesthetic, according to Company One Artistic Director, Shawn LaCount. “Our production uses beautiful imagery and live music to create an evening that is funny, uplifting and bold,” says LaCount. “In After the Quake, Murakami uses a seamless balance of traditional Eastern storytelling with a contemporary urban edge.”
In large part it’s been the portrayal of humanity in raw form that has compelled generations of readers to Murakami’s work. His writing embodies a sort of new-existentialism, posing the “big questions” of life in a way that captivates modern sensibilities. This has helped him retain his massappeal, while also sparking criticism among traditionalists who feel that his work is too commercialized. Despite, or perhaps because of his spotty reputation with the intellectual elite, Murakami commands a veritable cult-following of fans, especially among younger readers who identify with his blending of traditional Japanese and Western culture. This demographic is a part of Company One’s target audience and the company is counting on Murakami’s literary following to help bring in the younger crowd.
“It’s about finding a new way to connect with the audience we seek to serve with our work,” muses LaCount. “This could easily appeal to someone who’s never seen theatre before, but who is a devout Murakami fan. New audiences are the future of American theatre and bringing new faces into Boston theatre is what Company One is all about.”
Even among his detractors, Murakami’s literary prowess is undeniable. In a literary career spanning three decades, the one-time owner of a small jazz bar has penned 12 novels and between 30 and 40 short stories. His writings have been translated into over forty languages – including several translations by Harvard University professor, Jay Rubin – and have won him numerous awards and acclaim, including the coveted Yomiuri Literary Prize, which he received for his 1994 novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. In addition to After the Quake, Several of Murakami’s works, including his first novel Hear the Wind Sing, as well as more recent works, The Elephant Vanishes and Kafka on the Shore have also been adapted for the stage and screen. The author is probably best known for his novel
To bring Company One’s production of AFTER THE QUAKE alive, LaCount, who is also directing the piece, cast five local Asian actors – all newcomers to the Company One family of actors and artists. He is also excited to be incorporating two live local musicians trained in classical improvisation to bring audiences a fresh and immersive experience.
“Murakami’s writing is both deeply human and wildly fantastical – it translates beautifully to the stage,” LaCount observes. “I hope that fans of his literary work, as well as avid theatre-goers, are able to experience the testament to healing and hope that I have found in directing this story.”
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AFTER THE QUAKE runs July 17 – August 15 at the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre. Tickets are $15 - $38. www.bostontheatrescene.com or www.companyone.org for more information. To arrange press coverage, please contact Mason Sand, Director of Public Relations, at 617.230.6753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.