by Chris MaGee
There are a lot of fans of Kankuro Kudo out there. Why wouldn't there be? The 38-year-old screenwriter and filmmaker (above, far left) not only penned the scripts for for such films as Takashi Miike's "Zebraman", Fumihiko Sori's "Ping Pong" and Isao Yukisada's "Go", but he's also directed such films as "Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims" and "Shonen Merikensack". On top of his work in film Kudo is also an award-winning playwright and stage director. Diehard fans know that his 2004 stage play "Don-ju (Dumb Animal" has just been released as a film starring Tadanobu Asano and directed by Hideaki Hosono. Now there's word that Kudo will be directing another of his plays later this month with a very big name star in the lead.
"R2C2: Saibogu na node bando yame masu!" (roughly translated to "R2C2: Because of the cyborgs the band stops!") is a rock opera starring none other than Ryuhei Matsuda in the lead role of a cyborg named R2C2 ( can hear George Lucas' lawyers sharpening their knives already). The story of "R2C2" is simple: after a decade locked away in cryogenic hybernation a rock band headed up by comedian Sadao Abe (above, center) is revivified in a near future Japan in which humankind is in the middle of a "family feud" with their cyborg children... and music just isn't any fun anymore. Sounds a hell of a lot like Ben Elton's storyline for the smash hit musical "We Will Rock You" based on the songs of Queen, doesn't it?
"R2C2: Saibogu na node bando yame masu!" is set to open at the Parco Theater in Shibuya on May 31st, but earlier this month reporters got a chance to see a bit of a dress rehearsal with Matsuda and Abe which you can check out here care of YouTube (this one has the dreaded "Embedding disabled by request" label). If your Japanese is up to snuff you can find out even more about "R2C2" at the play's official website here. Thanks to Japanese-language site TheaterGuide for the above image.