Reason number 34,932 to book a flight to Japan: the Studio Ghibli theme park. Reason number 34,933, though? The “Spirited Away” stage play.
As if our rationales for inventing a teleportation machine aren’t enough, photos of the stage play adaptation of the 2001 Studio Ghibli film have surfaced on the internet. Staged by Toho for its 90th anniversary, the live-action is helmed by theater vet John Caird, whose list of credentials include Tonys, Oliviers, a stint as the “Les Misérables” director, and associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In the adaptation’s announcement last year, Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki had reportedly given his full blessing.
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision; he is a person we can trust,” said Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli producer and Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator.
First look: Spirited Away on stage
Adapting the limitless imagination of Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic animation for the stage was both a monumental joy & challenge.
— Toby Olié (@TobyOlie) March 3, 2022
The play’s puppetry designer and director Toby Olié took to Twitter to share a first look at the adaptation, which is currently running at Tokyo’s Imperial Theater until March 29 before its tour across cities in Japan.
The adaptation stars Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi as Chihiro, who stumbles upon an abandoned amusement park with her family. After a curse inflicted upon her parents that transforms them into giant pigs, Chihiro chances upon a boy named Haku (Kotaro Daigo and Hiroki Miura) and the supernatural realm she had unknowingly entered.
And as expected, the “Spirited Away” photos have all the juicy details: Chihiro and No-Face on the train to Swamp Bottom; Kamaji in all his eight-limbed glory; Haku in both dragon and human form, just to name a few. While tourists aren’t allowed in Japan for the time being (boohoo), we can always just longingly stare at these photos below.
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Photos courtesy of Toby Olié and Toho Stage