While kabuki has stayed popular into the modern age, its narratives are still almost universally set in the samurai era, a long time ago. A major exception is coming soon, though, with a kabuki play set a long, long time ago.
Later this month a "Star Wars" kabuki play will be held in Tokyo, and if you’re worried it’s going to be some half-effort fan skit, think again. The star of the show is none other than Ichikawa Ebizo, one of Japan’s most popular kabuki actors and an absolute A-list Japanese entertainment industry icon. Despite the unexpected source material for his latest project, Ichikawa himself is an outspoken "Star Wars" fan, and is also serving as supervisor for "Star Wars Kabuki."
“'Star Wars Kabuki' will depict the love and loss felt by the Skywalker family over the past 40-plus years,” promises Ichikawa, who has himself become a symbol of single fatherhood in Japan as he raises two children (including an aspiring kabuki actor son) following the loss of his wife, newscaster Mao Kobayashi, to breast cancer at the age of 34. Ichikawa will be playing a character who is part of the Skywalker bloodline, but when he takes the stage it won’t be as Luke or Darth Vader, but as deeply troubled third-generation Force-user Kylo Ren.
Officially being titled "Star Wars Kabuki-Rennosuke Hikarigatana Sanbon" ("Star Wars Kabuki-Ren and Three Light Sabers"), the play is scheduled to be a one-night-only performance, to be held on Nov 28 at a yet unannounced theater in Tokyo, just eight days before the opening of the kabuki adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind."
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