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AMANO Tengai
Born: 1960
Function: stage director playwright
Company: KUDAN Project

Born in Aichi Prefecture, Amano is leader of the Nagoya-based Shonen Oja Kan group. Active throughout Japan, they stage productions in a wide range of genres, including theater, dance, puppet shows, and so forth, while also being involved in fields such as manga, design, and journalism. In 1998 Amano formed the theater company KUDAN Project together with Oguma Hideji, which has also performed abroad and toured in Asia. With his collages of time and reversals of the laws of cause and effect, Amano's theatrical world is a unique space-time labyrinth imbued with extraordinary playfulness and a hint of nostalgia. His best-known plays are Oshimai (The Sisters), Hoshi no tengu (Goblin of the Stars), Takaoka shinno kokai ki (Prince Takaoka's Logbook), Twilights, Kudan no ken (OSHIMAI, or That Kudan Affair, nominated for the 1999 Kishida Drama Award), and Mayonaka no Yaji-san Kita-san (Yaji and Kita). His first short film as director, Twilights (1994), won the Grand Prize at both the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Photo: Hatori Naoshi
Kudan no ken (OSHIMAI)
One summer's day, the lighthearted banter between two young men gradually turns to the matter of a creature called a kudan that they had once kept. The collages of time, reversals of the laws of cause and effect, and wordplay affording multiple meanings all accelerate until the stage is transformed into an intense deluge of images. Eventually it emerges that one of men had been seriously injured and even now remains in a vegetative state in an upstairs room. The tale ends with a bare stage reminiscent of the end of the world. Was it all a dream?

First staged: 1995
Acts/scenes: 1 act 6 scenes
Cast: 2 (both male)
First staged by: KUDAN Project

Photo: Yamazaki Noriaki
Mayonaka no Yaji-san Kita-san (Yaji and Kita)
This play was adapted to the stage from the original manga by Shiriagari Kotobuki. Yaji has stabbed his wife to death with a kitchen knife, and decides to take his lover Kita, a drug addict, to visit the ancient shrine at Ise in search of something real in life. When it starts raining, they are forced to take shelter in an inn beside a river for several days. As their minds wander with aimless ideas, they dither in the space between dream and reality and, entangled in illusory time and space, their nightmares grow increasingly absurd and comical. A masterpiece acclaimed as a treasure of Japanese theater.

First staged: 2002
Acts/scenes: 1 act 5 scenes
Cast: 2 (male)
First staged by: KUDAN Project