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Rashomon

Rashomon
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 72
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN-10: 0573614652
ISBN-13: 9780573614651
Cast Size: 3 female, 8 male

About the Play:

Rashomon has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Rashomon is a full-length drama adapted for the stage by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin, inspired by Akira Kurosawa's film of the same name, which is based on the famous short stories of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. In this stage adaptation of the 1950 Japanese film, the wife of a Samurai officer is assaulted and her husband killed by a roving bandit. Contradictory versions of what happened are reenacted at the trial by the bandit, the wife and the dead husband who speaks through a medium. Each version is true in its fashion.

Rashomon is the story of a violent encounter into an exploration of the nature of truth itself. One day, on the road to Kyoto, the notorious bandit Tajomaru rapes a samurai's wife. The samurai himself later turns up dead. And everyone – the wife, the bandit, even a medium representing the samurai's ghost – has a different story to tell about who killed him and why. On a rainy night at the Rashomon Gate, the woodcutter who found the body and the priest whose faith has been shaken by the conflicting testimony at the trial encounter a rascally wigmaker. Together they revisit these stories, hoping to discover where the truth lies. They can't all be true. Can any of them be true? Could it be that nothing is true? Full of swordplay, music, and movement, Rashomon is a tragic, suspenseful, provocative, and at times darkly comic tale for our times.

Rashomon premiered in 1959 on Broadway at the Music Box Theater in New York. The show enjoyed revivals at Off-Broadway's Roundabout Theatre in 1988 and the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1996. It has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions as it does not require the sumptuous sets and costumes of the original Broadway production to create a magical and thought-provoking ambience.

Cast: 3 female, 8 male

What people say:

"...even though the play itself remains an American retelling of a tale set in Kyoto 1,000 years ago. The theme remains the search for truth which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder." — The Christian Science Monitor

"Delicate and dynamic, sensitive and savage, packed with color, suspense and seamy wit. A triumph of stagecraft." — New York Mirror

"Rashomon is pure art of the theatre. Out of a legend, it conjures a mood. No one need despair of a commercial theatre that can deal in elusive materials with so much delicacy, expertness and charm." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Fay Kanin (1917-2013) was an Emmy-winning and Oscar- and Tony-nominated American screenwriter, playwright and producer, who crafted several plays and highly acclaimed scripts for film and television during a career that spanned some 50 years. A self-proclaimed feminist, she brought an energetic and assertive female voice to her work. One of her proudest moments was the night of the 1980 Academy Awards, when a huge worldwide audience saw that the president of AMPAS was a woman; indeed, she was the first full-term female president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences from 1979 to 1983, for the maximum of four consecutive one-year terms, during which she became a lifelong advocate on behalf of film preservation.

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