The funny side of hiding in the attic

by Nobuko Tanaka

In 2003, the Tokyo-based theater company Rinkogun received a number of awards for its play “Ura-Yaneura” (“Attic”). Now the play is back in a compelling new form — staged in a mish-mash of languages using the company’s actors and others from Indonesia and South Korea.

The play centers around the Yaneura, a fictional “room-within-a-room” kit that, though sold in secret, is becoming popular with people wanting to withdraw from society.

In several episodes, the play portrays life inside a Yaneura, each time with a different occupant in a different household. Sometimes the recluses have visitors — though whether real or imagined it is hard to tell — and the Yaneura is seen to affect households in various, and often hilarious, ways.

For this production, Yoji Sakate, Rinkogun’s playwright and director, has created a remarkably realistic set in which he conjures up an unlikely harmony and solidarity among his diverse cast.

“Ura-Yaneura” is performed in Japanese, English, Korean, Indonesian and Chinese (with sectional subtitles in Japanese) and runs till March 31 at the Suzunari Theater, a 5-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu and Keio-Inogashira lines). For more details, call Rinkogun at (03) 3426-6294 or visit rinkogun.com