Studio Ghibli fans, rejoice! The British stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke is coming to Japan this April at the Aiia Theater in Tokyo. Originally intended only for London’s Diorama Theater, creators Whole Hog Theatre decided to bring the production home to its “birthplace” so to speak.
Princess Mononoke is an acclaimed anime film released in 1997 and was the first animated film to win Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. Whole Hog Theatre announced last year that they will be adapting the film into a stage play, in collaboration with Studio Ghibli themselves. They are using large puppets constructed from recycled materials to bring some of the magical and fantastical creatures to life. When they were planning this production last year, the theater group had no intention of bringing the play to any other country. Good thing they changed their minds! Toshio Suzuki, the producer of Princess Mononoke and other Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away, says he is excited to experience the stage production just like the London audiences would.
Princess Mononoke is an epic historical tale of the struggle between man and nature, and how civilization has affected the environment. This is a common theme in most of Miyazaki’s and Studio Ghibli’s work. Who knows, if this production is successful enough, we might be seeing Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle on the stage as well.