Here's what Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away looks like as a play
Spirited Away is many things: one of the best animated films by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the highest-grossing movies in Japanese history, an Oscar winner, and a cinematic fairy tale powerful enough to transport viewers to a realm of magical possibility. And recently, Spirited Away also became something else: a play.
Originally announced last year, the Spirited Away play — directed by Tony winner John Caird and produced by Toho Studios — has now finished its initial run at Tokyo's Imperial Theater and is set to tour additional Japanese cities throughout the summer: Osaka in April, Fukuoka in May, Sapporo in June, and Nagoya in July.
The even better news is that now you can see photos of what the stage production looks like! Originally released in 2001 and hailing from the famed animation house Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away is full of otherworldly creatures like the sorceress Yubaba, the eight-armed boiler man Kamaji, and the ethereal No-Face. As you can see from the images, Caird and his collaborators did an incredible job translating these characters to the stage. No-Face, for instance, is mostly played by Koharu Sugawara and Tomohiko Tsujimoto — but to depict the scenes where No-Face runs wild with uncontrollable hunger, as many as 12 actors are employed to perform the character's movements. Kamaji's arms, which span 19 feet, are performed by as many as six actors at times.
Even the protagonist is played by more than one person. The young girl at the center of Spirited Away starts out with the name Chihiro, but after becoming an indentured servant in Yubaba's bathhouse, she is given the name Sen instead. She works hard throughout the film to regain her true name, which is why the original Japanese title is Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. To reflect the differences between these two states of being, Chihiro is played by two different actors, Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi.
Check out the photos of the Spirited Away play below, and start praying that the production makes its way to the United States eventually. Just be careful not to disturb those spirits or eat their food…
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