A new Kurosawa themed theatre play titled 11 Seconds (Akira Kurosawa in Hell) will be streaming online from Monday (March 22) until next Sunday.
The play was written by US based actor and writer Karen Huie and directed by Peter Kuo. It was inspired by real life events and is set in the period following Dodesukaden‘s failed release that led to Kurosawa’s attempted suicide in 1971. The synopsis reads:
Akira Kurosawa’s first color film is dismissed by critics. The reknowned [sic] director of “Rashomon”, “Seven Samurai” and “The Hidden Fortress” (on which “Star Wars” is based), is shunted for funding and chooses suicide. When Akira was seventeen, his older brother, a narrator of silent Japanese films committed suicide when sound destroyed his career. He was twenty-three. Akira arrives in Meido, Japanese Hell, where his fate is to be determined when he has paid for all his sins. He is desperate to find his brother; he would understand. But he is paired with Toshiro Mifune, with whom he had a falling out after making sixteen successful films together. They must find a way to get through the three gates of hell in order to reach the Pureland/Redemption.
11 Seconds (Akira Kurosawa in Hell) is produced at The Blank Theatre which is an award winning Hollywood based theatre that has operated since the early 1990s. The cast includes Francois Chau as Kurosawa, Michael Hagiwara as Toshirō Mifune, Greg Watanabe as Heigo Kurosawa, Julia Cho as Oni, and Yumi Mi as Raven. In addition to her career as a playwright, the author Karen Huie has appeared in numerous TV shows, including Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, Hollywood and others, done voice work for films like the recent Star Wars trilogy, Deadpool and many others, as well as lending her voice for many video games, including the recent Kurosawa inspired title Ghost of Tsushima, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Grand Theft Auto V.
The donation based suggested price of admission is $15 and tickets are available through Go Lively. A code will be provided on the day of the premiere and the stream will be available on Vimeo until the end of the week. On a personal note, I had trouble buying a ticket through PayPal while using Firefox and Chrome on Windows, and only managed to complete the transaction by switching to a Mac and Safari. It may have been just a hiccup, or something wrong at my end, but if you face issues, maybe try another payment method or another browser. I’ll update this post if I hear back from their tech support.
But now that I have my ticket, I will definitely be watching the show. Anyone else? If you do watch the performance, drop a comment below with your thoughts!