Asia Society Co-commission, 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,' Takes Flight in Edinburgh

A scene from Stephen Earnhart's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
A scene from Stephen Earnhart's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Asia Society's co-commissioned production of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, inspired by Haruki Murakami's internationally popular novel, received stellar reviews when it ran at the Edinburgh International Festival late last month.

Director Stephen Earnhart's production combined dazzling elements of live performance, music, puppetry and dance/movement with cinematic video and audio technology to create a hypnotic "theater of dreams."

Read a sampling of the reviews, and watch a trailer below:

The Telegraph
"So it's to the enormous credit of Earnhart, that this production, given its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, is such an absorbing piece of stagecraft. Using puppets, projections, and sound — much of it performed live by Bora Yoon — it creates a fluidly inventive dreamscape through which its everyman hero Toru Okada (played with wide-eyed confusion by James Yaegashi) stumbles in search of his vanished wife Kumiko."

"One of Earnhart's major achievements is that he does not disappoint fans of the book. Some major characters have gone, others have been merged into one and there are some minor variations in the plot. Yet he maintains the shape — and, importantly, the atmosphere — of the story in a two-hour production that is surprisingly unencumbered by a central character who is essentially passive."

"The show that emerges - like the novel itself — is a work of art that speaks deeply and powerfully to the theme of this year's International Festival; in that it goes to the heart of recent Japanese experience, and finds there a pulse of lost, confused and dreaming humanity that is instantly recognisable to any one of us, living in a world both bounded made infinite by the big screens around us, in any modern city on earth."

Herald Scotland
"PUTTING a 600-page magical-realist Zen noir state-of-the-nation novel onstage in a multi-media two-hour mash-up of film, puppetry, shadowplay and live music isn’t easy. Director Stephen Earnhart has achieved this heroically, however, with his and co-writer Greg Pierce’s slow-burning version of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s 1995 epic, in which the tone is set from the off by a series of black-clad figures slow-walking onstage to make some tai chi style gestures before departing."

Watch a trailer for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: