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A Translation of Shadows
Next Performances ...
SUMMERHALL (Festival 2015), EDINBURGH
Tuesday 25 - Saturday 29 August
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE VIA THE Summerhall Website

Have you ever fallen in love with a film star? Have they loved you back?

The benshi were live narrators of silent films in Japan until the 'talkies' wiped them out. Now, thanks to playful theatre mavericks Stan's Cafe shooting their own silent film in Tokyo, the benshi is back!

Witty, poetic and subversive, join the benshi for his commentary on the film Shadows and the lives of its fictional cast. Inevitably he's in love with the film's star. As the narrator, the mighty benshi has a chance to change the story and ensure she loves him back ... or does he?

Programme Notes

Welcome to A Translation of Shadows.

I learnt about the curious figure of the benshi from an old book about the history of Japanese film.

The benshi intrigued me. I liked thinking about an audience so new to film they needed its grammar explained. I revelled in the idea that a benshi could be the star attraction and could twist the narrative of any film she or he narrated. I empathised with the benshi's fate, swept away by the march of technology and the coming of 'the talkies'.

In preparation for making this show we thought we should watch some old Japanese films and try being benshi to them. A Woman of Tokyo by Yasujiro Ozu was my favourite and reading about the extraordinary lives of the two female leads was tremenously inspiring.

If there is such a thing as a 'typical' Stan's Cafe show, then I suspect this is not it, but we are excited by it and hope you like it.

James Yarker, Artistic Director


Photo Credits: Graeme Braidwood

Theatre Credits:

Performed by: Craig Stephens
Directed by: James Yarker
Lighting: Ben Pacey
Music and Sound: Nina West
Script: Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Graphic Design: Simon Ford
General Manger (Pre-Production): Charlotte Martin
Administrator: Rowena Wilding
Executive Producer (Post-Production): Roisin Caffrey
Trailer: Oliver Clark

With thanks to:
Michelle Worthington, Nick Sweeting, Gareth Nicholls, Peter Maxwell Dixon,
David Edmunds and DEP Arts,
Matt Burman, Alan Rivett and Warwick Arts Centre,
Jack Trow, Ian Francis and Flatpack,
Dr. Mark Crossley & Dr. Rachel King,
Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Special thanks to Takako Nodera

Film Credits:

Girl: Marie Kitagawa
Grown up Girl: Takako Akashi
Boy: Shohei Muro
Father: Seiichi Tanisugi
Man: Ryuhei Uemoto
Fantasy Voice: Nozomi Ogishima

Camera and Edit: Oliver Clark
Soundtrack: Nina West
Screenplay: Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Assistant to the Director: James Yarker
Director: Oliver Clark
Producer in Japan: Satoshi Fukuoka
Translator and Assistant Producer in Japan: Lisa Fukouka
Producers in England: Charlotte Martin & James Yarker
Benshi Costume: Kay Wilton
Opening Credits: Seiichi Tanisugi

With thanks to:
Minako Eshi and Satagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo
Miura Film Commission and City
Keikyu Corporation, Hogetsu Hotel, Ishii Taxi, Mitsuya Liquor, Hideyo Tsuda, Kakumoto Atsushi

Commissioned by: Warwick Arts Centre
With financial support from: The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
and Arts Council England

Woman of Tokyo - Benshi

Performed by Jack Trow
On 27 March, 2015
Commissioned by Flatpack Film Festival

"Director James Yarker gives us an hour that is entertaining and thought-provoking, funny, sinister and inventive. A Translation of Shadows is an unadulterated pleasure that points up our relationship with the moving image, and how it can seduce us away from reality."

(Bum On A Seat)

"...there is a deeper relationship that is essentially being explored, between theatre and film; narrator and character; story and storytelling. There is a struggle of power, of understanding, of choice, between what we are seeing and what we want to see. There is also, of course, the literal translation of language - what is being accurately translated? What is being missed out? Is the narrator adding elements to the silent text on screen? ... Without revealing too much for to-be audiences, it is, without a doubt, something very different. If you like difference, Stan's Cafe will not disappoint."

(Joe Optimistik)



Some comments from social media:

Just watched @stanscafe #ATranslationOfShadows. A truly unique theatre experience, cleverly brilliant and thought provoking.

A Translation of Shadows was brilliantly complex and beautiful #theatre

Congrats to @stanscafe for their #ATranslationofShadows on Friday. A delightful blend of film and theatre. T'was lovely to watch it.

Two more nights to catch #atranslationofshadows by @stanscafe at @warwickarts. A beautiful interplay between live performance and video

Congratulations @stanscafe on uncovering and exploding the way of the benshi in #atranslationofshadows. Enigmatic and understated beauty

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