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world music theatre piece based on three stories 
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, including "Rashomon"

created by Watoku Ueno
with Yara Arts Group 

director, set and light designer: Watoku Ueno
composer/musician: Kato Hideki
costume design: Luba Kierkosz
shadow image design: Watoku Ueno/Makoto Takeuchi
stage manager: Shuhei Kinoshita
movement: Shigeko Sara Suga
projection: Rashid Mamun
shadow image design execution: Makoto Takeuchi, Yasuko Miura
Set construction: Kenji Watanabe
back stage crew /puppeteers: Megan Talley, 
Alan Barnes Nethertona and Yuji Mianjo

Hana A. Kalinski, Rex Matin, Stephanie Silver and Kazue Tani

April 4 - 21, 2008 
La MaMa Expriemental Theatre 
74 East 4th St, New York


"Creator Watoku Ueno and the Yara Arts Group have put tremendous thought into the aesthetics of the piece. It opens beautifully, with one of the most original and intriguing set designs I have ever seen. It serves up one surprise after another, from exotic costumes to intricate movements. A combination of music, shadow puppets, projections, and dance, it feels like a theatre version of an art house silent film..." The music by the composer/guitarist/sound designer Kato Hideki seamlessly merges with the striking visuals and accentuates the poignancy of the stories. I could listen to him forever. Luba Kierkosz's costume design is stylish and refined, serving the physical movements to perfection. After the Rain is written, designed, and directed by Watoku Ueno, and according to the program note, the scenes were created by the artists of Yara in rehearsal. Hats off to the artistry he and his company have put into the entire look of the show. It is breathtakingly exquisite. It is also a worthy attempt to wed literature to theatre, and the traditional Japanese art of shadow puppet, costumes, and music to modern dance and multimedia..." 
Kat Chamberlain, April 10, 2008

Yara Arts Group, an 18-year-old company whose mission is to create pieces rooted in Eastern culture, conjures up some 75 minutes of dreamlike theatre in "After the Rain"… The production has striking visual appeal. The storytelling incorporates lots of stylized movement, shadow puppetry, and pleasantly fragile songs, along with text from Akutagawa and convincing performances by the four actors in multiple roles. Rex Marin admirably endows each of the three central characters -- the samurai, the apprentice, and the old traveler -- with distinct personalities, while Hana A. Kalinski, Stephanie Silver, and Kazue Tani provide strong ensemble work. The musical underscoring and accompaniment by composer-guitarist Kato Hideki add dramatic emphasis, as do Ueno's honeycomb-like stage platform design and his moody lighting.

Ron Cohen, April 7, 2008 

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