Kafka on the Shore OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    July 23, 2015
    Closing:
    July 26, 2015

    Theater: David H. Koch Theater / 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

    Synopsis: 

    In a tale of two parallel journeys, 15-year-old Kafka and an imaginary friend run away from home in search of his estranged mother and sister and to escape an Oedipal curse. His journey runs side by side that of a fellow searcher—an old man with uncanny abilities seeking a magical stone he believes will offer divine guidance. As their odysseys entwine in modern-day Japan, reality, dream, and myth converge in an allegorical tale that resonates viscerally but resists logical explanation.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Kafka on the Shore

    ‘Kafka on the Shore,’ a Metaphysical Odyssey Adapted From Murakami’s Novel

    Charles Isherwood

    July 24, 2015: A sudden craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken swept over me at one point during the stage adaptation of the Haruki Murakami novel “Kafka on the Shore,” being presented through Sunday at the David H. Koch Theater as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. It has been well more than a decade since I’ve visited a KFC, but those familiar with Mr. Murakami’s playful metaphysical mystery will recall that Colonel Sanders — or rather a spirit taking the form of that corporate icon — is among the strange array of characters in the book. So, too, is Johnnie Walker, the top-hatted figure strolling across many a whiskey bottle. And by the conclusion of this visually arresting but ponderous three-hour production, performed in Japanese with English supertitles, thoughts of crispy chicken had been swept away by a stronger craving for a bracing glass of that liquor. Or indeed any other. The production, adapted by Frank Galati (who earlier adapted and directed a stage version of two stories from Mr. Murakami’s collection “After the Quake”) and directed by Yukio Ninagawa (making his third appearance at this festival), features an alluring and impressive set design by Tsukasa Nakagoshi. The wide expanse of the stage — usually home to New York City Ballet and other dance companies — is filled with large glass boxes lit by fluorescent tubing. These vitrines, of various shapes and sizes, are manipulated by black-clad figures so that they slip and slide smoothly around like ambulatory dioramas, giving the sweep of the story an almost cinematic flow. Scenes from the book take place mostly inside or just outside these boxes, which represent locations as varied as a quiet private library, a teeming red-light district, a long-haul truck and a remote forest idyll.

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