By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman during the Show, poster by KABUKI)
Producer Shochiku with special technical support by Panasonic took a giant step in bringing the ancient Kabuki Theater into the 21st century. This week the “Kabuki Lion Shi-Shi-O: The Adventures of the Mythical Lion” opened for a short run in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel in the David Copperfield Showroom.
Their use of projectors, videos, slow-motion and other techniques created a dazzling background for the actor’s and dancer’s actions. As the cast moved about the main stage and the second stage around the audience, there were multi-happenings at the same time.
Each flower suddenly opened slowly as we watch, don’t look away or you would miss something! The show is a very visual experience, the projectors transport scenes but we have to realize where does reality start or is it special effects? In addition to the main stage, the walls and the whole room are possible settings for the cast’s next moves. There are paper screen sliding doors and walls covered in delicate washi-paper screens.
Of course the traditional Kabuki story-line brought bigger-than-life heroes, exaggerated makeup and colorful costumes. This sensational show is a Must-See for a view into the world of Japanese theater, the beauty of their art of dancing, acting, acrobatic fighting and for their performance in Las Vegas, Panasonic’s ways of integrating the latest technology into classical plays.
With sacred swords, mythical characters and fight scenes, the story holds your interest. The choreography was amazing continuing in the classical style accented by Panasonic’s modern state-of-art techniques.
This Las Vegas performance is notable as the FIRST modern version of Kabuki and the FIRST time Kabuki Theater was brought to the United States.
Panasonic’s fantastic elements in the Kabuki Theater are reminiscent of when I review our superstars’ Madonna, Katy Perry, Celine Dion and other Las Vegas spectacular shows where the special effects, music, dancing, projectors and everything happens at once.
As a travel writer, I attended the Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, Japan, a few years ago, an opportunity to see the original version of the ancient art of Japanese theater dating back to 1603. The play continued during the day and evening with a cast of males “onnagata” portraying all of the parts.
It is important that Japan keeps their Kabuki Theater tradition alive in our modern world for visitors to enjoy in Tokyo along with their tea ceremony, cormorant bird fishing, public bath houses and other traditional customs.
Award winning Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated columnist featuring Show and Dining reviews, travel, health, luxury and more. Sandy is talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show programs and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. If you want to suggest topics for articles or have questions please contact Sandy at 702-731-6491. firstname.lastname@example.org