Rashomon, a drama written by Fay and Michael Kanin, in special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., will be presented by the Hampden-Sydney Fine Arts Department in four performances beginning Friday, February 18.

This production of Rashomon is an adaptation of the 1950 Akira Kurosawa film which was originally inspired by short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.  It utilizes a wide range of Japanese theatre techniques to make the play exciting and accessible to western audiences.

Rashomon 053The plot revolves around a forest bandit's violent attack on a samurai and his wife.  In court the next day, the truth of what actually happened gets cloudy when the bandit, the wife, and even the dead husband tell radically different versions of the same story.  The attack and the court case send a priest and a woodcutter off on a quest to unravel all of the lies and deceit.  Their interaction with a mysteriously wise character, the wigmaker, amongst the columns of the great Rashomon gate, reveals another reality of the amazing events.

With Johns Auditorium in its final phases of renovation, Rashomon will be performed in Winston Hall in a non-traditional environment.  Audience members will be seated on both sides of the stage and will be very near the performers. Matthew Dubroff, a specialist in Asian theatre, is utilizing his knowledge of Japanese Noh, Kabuki, and Butoh to enhance the differences between the versions of the attack as they are retold.  The restraint of Noh, the grandness of Kabuki, and the mystery of Butoh all serve to heighten the swordplay, the humor, and the drama of this production.

Professor Kevin DunnThis is a great play of daring, deceit, and wit.  Its unique mix of seriousness and humor makes it a treat for many people.  Audiences will find lots of fun and excitement in the unique and exotic production.  The cast and staff for Rashomon includes Hampden-Sydney College students and faculty, as well as a student from Prince Edward County High School.  Costume Design is by Shirley Kagan of the Hampden-Sydney Fine Arts Department.  Director and Set and Light Designer Matthew Dubroff is in his sixth year as a professor of theatre at Hampden-Sydney College.

Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19
Friday and Saturday, February 25 and 26

Rashomon 07  Rashomon 06  Rashomon 087