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NODA Hideki
Born: 1955
Function: stage director playwright
Company: NODA MAP

Noda launched his first theater company, Yume no Yuminsha, in 1976 while a student at Tokyo University. He wrote several notable works that propelled him to the fore of the 1980s Shogekijo, winning particular acclaim for his dramatic structures that move between real and mythical worlds with leaps in time and space, as well as his loquacious wordplay and energetic performance style. He disbanded the company in 1992 and went to London to study. On his return in 1993 he established NODA MAP, a production company that creates plays through workshops with casts of popular actors, and has come up with a succession of major hits. Noda has also taken his theater abroad, performing Akaoni (Red Demon) in Thailand and the U.K. He has continued to experiment enthusiastically with different genres, including adaptations of the well-known Kabuki plays Togitatsu no utare (Revenge on Togitatsu) and Nezumi Kozo (Rat Bandit Kozo), and international collaborations, such as his 2006 play THE BEE, with British actors and international production team. Akaoni won the Grand Prix of the 2004 Asahi Performing Arts Award, and the British coproduction THE BEE, won the Grand Prix of the 2007 Asahi Performing Arts Awards as well as the Yomiuri Theater Awards.

Photo: Keith Pattison; NODA MAP London performance
Akaoni (Red Demon)
When a foreigner arrives by boat in a seaside village, the locals mistake him for a man-eating red demon and decide to execute him. Three people—That Woman, her idiot brother Tombi, and the liar Mizukami—learn that the Red Demon eats flowers, not people, and that he had come in search of an ideal land. They therefore rescue him and head for sea, hoping to join his ship. Eventually, however, they starve and the Red Demon is the first to die. The play returns to the opening scene on the beach as That Woman commits suicide after being told that the turtle soup she had drunk had actually been made from the flesh of the Red Demon.

First staged: 1996
Acts/scenes: 16 scenes
Cast: 4 (3 male, 1 female in the original performance)
First staged by: NODA MAP
[Translations] English/Korean/Thai: available from NODA MAP

Photo: Yakou Masahiko; NODA MAP London version
THE BEE (Coauthored by Colin Teevan)
This play was adapted to theater from Tsutsui Yasutaka’s novel Mushiriai (Plucking at Each Other). Office worker Ido returns home to find the murderer Ogoro has taken his wife and son hostage. Ido goes to Ogoro’s wife to ask her to reason with her husband but meets with fierce resistance and ends up snatching a policeman’s gun using it to take her and her son hostage. He threatens to cut off the boy’s finger unless Ogoro releases his wife and child. Both Ogoro and Ido each cut off a finger from the other’s child. Thus starts bloody chain of events that ends with the deaths of both wives and children, upon which Ido announces he will cut off his own finger next.

First staged: 2006 (English), 2007 (Japanese)
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 4 (3 male, 1 female in the original performance)
Original English version first staged by: Soho Theatre and NODA MAP
Japanese version by: NODA MAP
[Transrations] English (original script)/Japanese: available from NODA MAP