A Japanese Folktale – Anime Momotaro

Charaters from Anime Momotaro

Characters from Anime Momotaro

I first read the Washington Post headline of their review for Anime Momotaro and decided immediately I wanted to see this play at Imagination Stage.  Then I read the whole review and was sure I had to see it.  It is a Japanese Folktale, entitled  “Anime Momotaro” which is translated to “The Peach Boy”; it has been adapted to the stage in the style of the Japanese cartoon style “anime”.  Imagination Stage is a theater for children in Bethesda.  I had never been and my child, Danny, age 5 had never been to a play before.  The play is recommended for ages 5-10, although I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am well past 10.  So I’m not sure why the age cap in their literature.  Maybe eleven year olds are too sophisticated for this, I guess I’ll find out when my child turns eleven.

I am no theater or film critic, just an average person who enjoys the theater every once in awhile.   I think the last time I saw live theater was last spring when Blair High School did Les Miserables.  I loved Anime Momotaro!  I can’t imagine you need a child with you to enjoy this play.

This tale is about an older couple who wish for a son and that son is found in a peach floating in the river.  So the son, who is named Momotaro (Peach Boy) is adopted, and this is a Japanese folktale.  We get Asian culture along a family created through adoption.  The tale is not about adoption, but about finding ways to deal with some bully ogres who take food from his family.

I am not even familiar with Japanese anime, and I liked this production so much that I can’t even imagine liking it more. But if I were familiar with anime then I probably would have gotten things that to me were just entertaining, but might have enjoyed it even more.  I thought of all the plays I have seen this had the best and most imaginative staging.  And it had all the kids and parents entertained.

Another thing I liked is how they explained in the beginning how the characters worked and how when the actors were dressed just in black, it was like they were invisible and when they were dressed in their characters they were that person.  Five actors play the multitude of characters.

I was looking to buy tickets when a friend noted that there was a Capital Deal being offered.  So although I was planning on paying full price, I got a deal to see this production.  But I think they will have made their money off of my family in the end, because now I want to come to every show at Imagination Stage.  This show plays until March 10, so there is still time to get tickets and see it.

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