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Yama - Tales of Shonai

  • King's Head Theatre 115 Upper St London, N1 1QN United Kingdom (map)

JUL 12 - AUG 2

Sundays, 7pm (3pm matinee on August 2nd), 120 mins


Doubtful Sound gives audiences a new perspective on Japanese identity through ancient folktales. The stories were created, evolved, and cherished in country-side towns, where the culture was a world away from the artificial and stereotypical one being created by modern advertising campaigns today. The images most people associate with Japan have very little to do with the way most people led their lives.

These stories from Shonai are about young brothers killing over missing potatoes, foxes arguing over an old man's tumour, mysterious floating coffins, regional lying competitions, complaints from the Lord of the Underworld, and a young woman plotting the death of her mother-in-law. They represent a different image of Japan, a strange and spacious one that is worth remembering and celebrating. 

Yama stirs up fresh, new and exciting images of a forgotten Japan. Doubtful Sound is a bi-lingual theatre company from Tokyo, now based in London. They create modern theatre works inspired by traditional Japanese stories. Past shows in Japan have included Phaedra's Love by Sarah Kane, and a historical play based on Sogamonogatari performed on a Noh stage over a river. Most recently, they performed a Japanese version of Yama in a 750 year-old temple in Yamagata, and the bilingual version in Tokyo.


Now in its 45th year, The King's Head Theatre is celebrating this anniversary with an exciting new artistic policy after the departure of OperaUpClose, becoming a crucible for new writing and critical rediscoveries. Work from Irvine Welsh, Richard Cameron, Richard O'Brien and Arthur Miller, as well as Mike Bradwell directing for the first time since the 1970s, guarantees that if it's on here, you won't see it anywhere else. Led by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, second artistic director following Dan Crawford (who set up the King's Head as the first pub theatre in 1970), the theatre is the first unfunded venue to have an Equity agreement to pay theatre-makers fair wages since 2011, and continues to do so despite receiving no public funding.


Earlier Event: July 9
The Diver
Later Event: July 14
Lovett + Todd