HIROSHIMA MAIDEN (2004)
Hiroshima Maiden is inspired by the true story of the Hiroshima Maidens – a group of about twenty-five women who survived the nuclear blast at Hiroshima in 1945. Ten years later these women were invited to the United States to undergo reconstructive surgeries. The women managed to get to the United States despite official objections, with the proviso that when they made public appearances they were to be seen only in silhouette. During the course of their surgical treatments, the climax of their American odyssey occurred when they were invited to appear (in silhouette) on the television program "This is Your Life," where among other people from their past, the producers arranged for them to meet face to face with the pilot of the Enola Gay – the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. Hiroshima Maiden piece borrows extensively from traditional Japanese Bunraku forms and is performed by a company of nine puppeteers. A Narrator sits to the side (as in a traditional Bunraku performance), and Robert Een, in an ensemble of three plays original, jazz inspired music, becoming an American version of the samisen player. Visual images are culled from the works of Hiroshige and Yoshitoshi, Edo era master print makers, as well as from the mid-century American designers Charles and Ray Eames.
Puppets and objects designed and fabricated by Dan Hurlin
Original music by Robert Een
Set designed by Dan Hurlin
Lights by Tyler Micoleau
Performed by Deana Acheson, Matt Acheson, Chris Green, Tom Lee, Yoko Miyoi, Eikazu Nakamura, Dawn Akemi Saito, Lake Simons, Eric Wright, Nami Yamamoto
Music performed by Jeff Berman, Robert Een, Bill Ruyle
Premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY
A project of Red Wing Performing Group, produced by MAPP International
AWARDS: UNIMA Citation of Excellence (Union Internationale de la Marionnette); Village Voice Obie Award for musical score.
All photos: Richard Termine