Fringe’s Wind in the Pines a worthwhile challenge for Western audiences

Wind in the Pines, one of only two Japanese plays shown at Victoria Fringe Festival 2012, is a unique addition to the festival.

Based on an old Japanese folk tale, the play features the ghosts of two young women who are in love with the same man and are waiting for his return. They are connected to the pine tree and spend their days wandering nearby. Sadly, the women are not able to come to terms with the fact that the man they love will not return as he promised.

Unfortunately, the play was presented with subtitles that at times went too fast or skipped ahead. For English-speaking audiences unfamiliar with the original tale, it could be difficult to understand the story and what is happening in the beginning because it’s quite abstract. Once the tale gets underway it becomes clearer what the story actually is.

The staging of the play is quite interesting, with the stage representing a garbage-strewn beach. The actors wander amongst fabric and actual bottles, often kicking them as they go, which creates an appealing. visceral effect.

Wind in the Pines is a tale about living life and not getting caught in stagnation. It’s depressing at times, seeing the two ghosts struggle with their love for the man and their inability to separate themselves from the pine tree, but it’s also a great lesson.

Although it may take a bit of work for foreign audiences to adjust to the plot, Wind in the Pines is worth a watch for those looking for something different from the norm.

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