The play, co-produced by barbicanbite09, Complicite and Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theatre (where it premiered in February 2008), will run Jan. 30, 2009-Feb. 21, 2009, with an official opening on Feb. 3.
Directed by Simon McBurney, whose Broadway revival of All My Sons is now previewing at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Shun-kin is inspired by two works by one of the most important Japanese writers of the twentieth century, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. Written in 1933 when Japan was opening its arms to Western influence, the short story, "A Portrait of Shunkin," is a tale of masochistic longing. In the same year, Tanizaki wrote "In Praise of Shadows," his essay on Japanese aesthetics. Both stories were shaped by Tanizaki's own fantasies and idealization of a bygone era.
According to press materials, Shun-kin moves between the neon glow of Japan and the vanished world of the Meiji era and uncovers moments of light in a world of darkness. McBurney and Complicite tell a tale of devotion, passion and power, where beauty is unforgiving and love is blinding. Emerging from traditional Japanese culture, this production reveals how close beauty and violence can be.
A Japanese cast will perform the play in Japanese with English surtitles. Original music is by Hidetaro Honjo, design is by Merle Hensel and Rumi Matsui, costume design is by Christina Cunningham, lighting design is by Paul Anderson, sound design is by Gareth Fry, projection design is by Finn Ross for Mesmer and puppetry is by Blind Summit Theatre.
McBurney, co-founder of Complicite, has devised, directed and performed in over 30 producitons for the company. A Disappearing Number won the Olivier Award, Critics' Circle Drama Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Play. A BBC Radio 3 version of the play will be broadcast Sept. 21. Tickets are on sale to Barbican members now, and go on sale to the general public on Oct. 10. To book, contact the box office on 0845 120 7550 or visit www.barbican.org.uk/bite.