Ghost in the Shell Combines Noh Theater with Virtual Reality

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Writer Jun'ichi Fujisaku, Noh actor Takanobu Sakaguchi comment on production of show held last weekend

Masamune Shirow 's Ghost in the Shell manga series recently combined traditional theater with cutting-edge technology by holding a Noh performance with Virtual Reality (VR). The performances were held in Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theatre throughout last weekend.

The promotional video for the performance is embedded below:

The cast includes Takanobu Sakaguchi, Kōhei Kawaguchi, Kengo Tanimoto, and other Kanze Noh musicians. Shutaro Oku (live-action Blood-C films and stage productions, stage productions of Ghost in the Shell Arise, Persona 4) is directing off a script by Jun'ichi Fujisaku (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Blood-C, Appleseed XIII). Meiji University's Kentarō Fukuchi (Ghost in the Shell Arise stage production) is handling the 3D technology, and University of Tokyo's Masahiko Inami, a leading figure in VR research, is handling the production's VR technology.

At a talk show on Friday, Fujisaku commented on the production: "The idea of making Noh theater out of Ghost in the Shell first came up when the director Shutaro Oku speculated what would happen if we tried it. But by using the original manga as a base, I was able to look within the Ghost in the Shell inside of me and unabashedly extract things that would fit Noh."

Sakaguchi said: "The first thing we asked of Mr. Oku was to create a script that was faithful to the original manga, so that the fundamental structure and techniques of Noh could be preserved as much as possible. As this took on more of a tangible film, we started to use more Noh techniques as a base as well, and worked hard to put it all together."

The VR Noh performances recreated the world of Noh without the use of VR goggles. The production featured performers from Kanze, a school that has preserved the classic Japanese dance and theater traditions of Noh for nearly seven centuries.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan-Web

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