Yukio Mishima was a brilliant writer whose work is melancholic and poetic. He had the ability to penetrate the veil of Japanese society with a sharp wit, thereby reminding other cultures of the similarities. Luna Playhouse is featuring his genius with Hanjo and The Lady Aoi. The performances allowed the nuances of his themes of love, both selfless and selfish, and the endurance of desire, and how it can create and destroy.
Hanjo (starring a lovely Kazumi Zatkin) is the story of a beautiful maiden kept by Jitsuko (Hiroko Imai). Jitsuko who wants more than just a platonic relationship bewitches Hanjo, frail from heartbreak. She waits for word from a suitor, Yoshio (Yutaka Takeuchi), who, despite more noble intentions, wants to control her as well.
Hana-Ko was brief, but brilliant. It featured the oft-told story that the Lord may rule a castle, but it is the lady who rules all. Ed Refuerzo as Daimyo has natural comedic talent.
The Lady Aoi addresses the pain of regret and how uniquely powerful love and lust intertwine. As his wife Aoi (Kazumi Zatkin) lays in a coma-like state, he is tempted by a sultry nurse (a charismatic Grace Li) and seduced by an old flame, Mrs. Yasuko Rokujo (Fay Kato). It is this lost love that brings him to memories that still haunt him. Mishima conveys that true love is a constant, ever burning fire that cannot be extinguished.
An excellent production. Recommended.
“Two Plays by Yukio Mishima” is playing through August 1st at the Luna Playhouse, located at 3706 San Fernando Rd., Glendale, CA 91204. Tickets can be bought at 818-500-7200 or on the Web at www.lunaplayhouse.org.