Sounds like the U.K. is getting its second Studio Ghibli anime-based stage production, and very soon.
More than two years after the release of When Marnie Was There, Studio Ghibli remains deathly quiet about making any more anime, international co-production such The Red Turtle notwithstanding. The animation house’s incredible body of work continues to inspire other creative teams, though, and now comes word that one of the franchises most strongly associated with Studio Ghibli is getting a stage adaptation.
The U.K.’s Dazed reports that a Kiki’s Delivery Service play will open later this year in London. This would mark the second time Great Britain has hosted a live-action, live-performed version of a story directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, following the Princess Mononoke stage play that began in London in 2013 and eventually made its way to Japan.
Dazed lists the director for the Kiki’s stage production as Katie Hewitt (associate director for the London production of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical under director Sam Mendes) and credits South African playwright Jessica Sian with the script, which is to be a “[reinterpretation of] the story from the film and 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono.”
The mention of original Kiki’s creator Kadono is intriguing, as it suggests that the stage play is willing to deviate from the plotline of the 1989 anime film (written, directed, and produced by Miyazaki), which itself differed from Kadono’s book in tone and narrative. It’s probably also a safe assumption that unlike the 2014 Japanese live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service movie, the London-produced play will feature a largely Caucasian cast, in keeping with the European-influenced architecture and fashions seen in the Studio Ghibli anime, which is by far the most recognized version of the story outside Japan.
The Kiki’s Delivery Service play will be performed at London’s Southwark Playhouse, according to Dazed, starting December 8 of this year and running until an unspecified date in January of 2017.
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