8_bit_magic (8_bit_magic) wrote,
8_bit_magic
8_bit_magic

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Strangers on a Train


Nino as Charles Bruno
I am writing this blog post as a tribute to Nino's stage play (butai in Japanese) performance in Strangers on a Train. Nine years ago today the production ran at Tokyo Globe in Shinokubo, from 18 July to 11 August, 2009. Strangers on a Train (or Mishiranu Jokyaku) was originally written by Amercian novelist Patricia Highsmith in 1950 and the following year it was adapted and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker. Critically acclaimed film and theatre director Robert Allan Ackerman wrote the screenplay, adapting it for the stage and introducing a more homosexual subtext into the plotline. He directed the Japanese stage play in 2009 and later took his screenplay to the West End, at London's Gielgud Theatre, in 2013.

Ackerman's 2009 production in Japan starred:
Ninomiya Kazunari as Charles Bruno
Akiyoshi Kumiko as Elsie Bruno (I saw her recently in Mukodono! where she played Aiba's mother, she is sooo beautiful!)
Uchiwa Shigeru as Guy Haines

The basic premise is this (from the original story, found on Wikipedia):  Architect Guy Haines wants to divorce his unfaithful wife, Miriam, in order to marry the woman he loves, Anne Faulkner. While on a train to see his wife, he meets Charles Anthony Bruno, a psychopathic playboy who proposes an idea to "exchange murders": Bruno will kill Miriam if Guy kills Bruno's father; neither of them will have a motive, and the police will have no reason to suspect either of them. Guy does not take Bruno seriously, but Bruno kills Guy's wife while Guy is away in Mexico.
Bruno informs Guy of his crime, but Guy hesitates to turn him in to the police. He realizes that Bruno could claim Guy's complicity in the planned exchange murders; however, the longer he remains silent, the more he implicates himself. This implicit guilt becomes stronger as in the coming months Bruno makes appearances demanding that Guy honor his part of the bargain. After Bruno starts writing anonymous letters to Guy's friends and colleagues, the pressure becomes too great, and Guy murders Bruno's father.

If you are interested you can read the rest from the Wikipedia page here.

Among the Arashi fandom I think more fuss has been made from Ackerman's homosexual element than anything else Nino did for this play. He and Uchiwa (Guy Haines) share a kiss. Now, I want it known that I am not homophobic in the slightest but surely Nino did more for this production than simply to participate in a kiss with another man! (There were also *incestuous* scenes between Charles Bruno and his mother Elsie. Again, I am unfazed).

I have read Patricia Highsmith's novel, mostly because after seeing the film The Talented Mr Ripley starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, I became intrigued about her books. In later years, when I became an Arashi fan and I discovered all about Nino having performed in Strangers on a Train, I rejoiced. That feeling quickly became bittersweet once I knew I would never actually see it. As far as I am aware no *secret fancams* have seen the light of day. Instead, I only have my very special SOAT folder on my laptop with hundreds of images, paparazzi photos, promotional magazine spreads, as well as a few Japanese television news/promotional videos. I also have a copy of the butai pamphlet and the postcard collection.

My private collection: the original novel and DVD, 2009 butai pamphlet, and Nino postcard set

I would dearly love to have seen Nino in this production, for as many stage plays that he has performed in since his Junior days with Johnny's Entertainment, this is the one play I absolutely and unequivocally mourn for. Nino looks so grand, so smouldering, so angry and passionate. Even the papa pics show the bitter bile in his contorted facial expressions, the spit issuing from his mouth, and the tears! I have no doubt in my mind that he put his heart and soul into the play. How I wish I could witness it for myself! *insert crying emoji*

Someone did actually go and see it, *ughhhhh* they were sooo lucky. You can read it here.

If anybody knows where I can find any promo videos of Nino, I would really appreciate knowing. I have the one from Mezamashi but if there are others, please leave me a comment. It would be greatly appreciated.

Edited: I almost forgot to mention, I am going to make a special 見知らぬ乗客 scrapbook for the tenth anniversary 💛
Tags: arashi, butai, nino, ninomiya kazunari, stage play, strangers on a train
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