Monday, November 14, 2011


ウエストーサエドストーリ - Or, as we call it here in America, "West Side Story" is celebrating its  50th Cinematic Anniversary.  I was lucky enough to see the "one night only" big screen release of the newly remastered print at AMC cinemas in Century City.   What a thrill that was; I've never seen it in a real movie theater.   The dancing exploded off the screen, the music was gorgeously newly remixed, the colors seemed more saturated and vibrant...everything pulled together to remind me just why this movie endures.  Even though much of it is is "beyond dated" (very hard to relax into that first scene when a band of white boys (who are really quite a bit older than the streetwise teens they are trying to be) get together to show off their toughness in the "hood" by making their way down the street doing ballet!)

Of course since everything I do these days seems to bring me back to thinking about Japanese or Japan, I wondered about Japanese productions of Westside Story and how it might be done.  In English?  In Japanese?  With the same costuming that we are used to seeing in America?  Or contemporary or classical Japanese wear?

I searched all over Youtube and found a few tidbits, but the following was the most charming.  Clearly a high school (or perhaps early college?) production.  In full Japanese no less -- but Maria is still wearing her white kerchief dress with the red sash (in fact in every production I viewed, she wears this!) and with only three words spoken in English:  Tony, Maria and "Tonight."  (I find it very funny, and very Japanese, that when the lovers are singing "Tonight" they stand like stiff boards facing the audience with an awkwardly staged holding of hands.  In the movie, of course Tony and Maria can't keep their eyes off each other!)


No comments:

Post a Comment