Free At Last: Life Beyond the River
Presented by Tokyo International Players (TIP) Second Stage and Tokyo Artistic Theatre Ensemble (TaTe)
June 2-5, 2016
Ogikubo Showgekijo, Ogikubo
Unlocking the Chains of Fate!
Tokyo International Players (TIP), in collaboration with Tokyo Artistic Theatre Ensemble (TaTe) is proud to present its next Second Stage production of 2016, Free at Last: Life Beyond the River, written and directed by Wendell T. Harrison. This play was written as a companion to TIP's Main Stage production of Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and was created using collected interviews from former American slaves. Tony Award-nominated set designer (Jersey Boys) Klara Zieglerova lends her incredible talent to create a world that bridges past and present.
Free at Last is an original play based on interviews from Born in Slavery, a collection of slave narratives that were obtained as a part of the Federal Workers Project in America from 1936 to 1938. Set in the modern era, but with scenes that evoke America's dark past, these stories are seen through the eyes of a Japanese television producer named Mieko who travels to America researching news reports. However―through monologues, theatrical movement, and the use of spirituals―Mieko not only gets an education on the institution of slavery but also begins the process of breaking free of her own cultural chains.
"As an African-American in Japan, I feel it's incredibly rare to see anything about my people," says writer/director Wendell T. Harrison, "There's nothing denoting our struggles and triumphs in America. Slavery is glossed over at best in schools, and even the Japanese word for slave carries no strong connotation in this country, which never experienced outright slavery. I definitely don't think that is a problem, but rather a missed cultural opportunity."
For more info about the creation of the show, check out Harrison's interview in The Japan Times
Free At Last is a bilingual production, utilising both Japanese and English subtitles.
The cast includes TIP veterans Asuka Sorimachi, Gini Benson, Ra'Chelni M. Weir II, Sachi Tanaka, Jack Freeman and Amber Richardson and features newcomers Elizabeth Perkins, Drew Stahl-David and Cody Kuroda of Watanabe Productions.
June 2 (Thurs) 7:00pm
June 3 (Fri) 7:00pm
June 4 (Sat) 1:00pm & 7:00pm
June 5 (Sun) 3:00pm
Advance reserved tickets: 3,000 yen
Tickets at the door: 3,500 yen
Student tickets: 2,500 yen
To reserve and pay for tickets by credit card, click here.
To reserve tickets and pay in cash at the door, click here.
OGIKUBO SHOWGEKIJO (荻窪小劇場)
3-47-18 Ogikubo, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
About the creative team
Writer and director Wendell T. Harrison hails from the United States (Louisiana) and has made Japan his home for seven years. Throughout that time, he has worked extensively with Tokyo International Players as an actor and director (Romeo and Juliet, No Exit, Disney's Mulan, Jr., Disney's Peter Pan Jr., and The Music Man Jr.) before founding Tokyo Artistic Theatre Ensemble with Romeo and Juliet producer Goshi Shirakawa.
Set Designer Klara Zieglerova has been designing for theatre in the United States and in Europe. Her work has been seen on Broadway in Sister Act, The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life. In London’s West End she designed Sister Act at the London Palladium and Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward's Theatre. Klara received a Tony Award nomination for her design of Jersey Boys.
Tokyo Artistic Theatre Ensemble was created in 2014 as a way to provide resources that help artists produce new work as well as promote artistic collaboration in Tokyo and abroad.