Yesterday I had the opportunity to see Massu’s Stage play, “Strange Fruit”! This was my first time seeing Massu in a stage play and I was really excited to see how he would perform!
Now, I will admit that I originally went to this play just because Massu was in it. As I read about the play itself and watched some of Massu’s TV appearances promoting the play though, I started to become really interested in the story line itself, as well as how Massu would play a character that is not similar to his normal personality.
The play was about 7 artists that were invited into a contest to win 100 Million yen to create an amazing work of art. They come from many different types of denominations of art, such as music, fashion, cinema, and more. The catch is that they must live in this old school for 1 year with no connection to the outside world and are not allowed to leave, or they will be disqualified because it is believed that those distractions take away from making great works of art. There is also the underlying mystery of what exactly is this “Strange Fruit” that is spoken of.
*Spoiler Alert! Don’t read If you are going to see the play!*
This play was very artsy and very well done, in my opinion. Some people might find it confusing, but the play started from the very end of the storyline and then went back in time to show everything that had happened to lead up to what you saw at the beginning of the play. In my opinion, it was almost like watching a film backwards, because they made it like you were watching a movie that the main character’s (Chiba, Massu’s Character, because he was a film maker) perspective because they had movie clips in between each of the five “Chapters” to transition scenes.
From the very beginning of the play it was pretty intense, with a suicide scene opening up the play and then continuing with final part of the actual storyline with “Chapter 5”, which was a scene with the “funeral” of the main girl character who committed suicide and the final “picnic” to announce who won the contest (Which ends up being Chiba). The climax seemed to be at the beginning of the play (which is the end of the storyline) and then became lighter and lighter as the play went back in time to see why the characters became the way that they did and how everything ended up the way that they did. The first and last scene seem to be the the most impactful of the whole play, with the other scenes filling in the gaps of information that need to be known to develop the characters.
The final scene of the play is the very beginning of the storyline and this part is the part that clears up the most questions, in my opinion, with Chiba and the main girl character having almost a half of a scene together. You finally find out their original relationship (they had known each other from before the contest and maybe were going out before hand? I didn’t fully understand that part) and you find out that the girl has a heart problem that still hasn’t been cured. Despite this, she still wanted to complete in the competition because she would see Chiba again and spend time with him because she loves him. Chiba wants to take her directly to a hospital, but she refuses saying she wants to be by his side and help him make the ultimate work of art, “Strange Fruit”, which has to do with the suicide at the beginning of the story. Basically, she committed suicide in order for Massu’s Character to re-make “Strange Fruit”, which involves the suicide at the very beginning of the play. This scene involves a kiss too, but it was different from a typical love story. Chiba was denying that he liked her the whole time basically until it is revealed that the girl really is in a bad condition and would die soon anyway. So, they decided to spend their last amount of time together during this contest.
Of course, there is more to this storyline that just this, but this was the main story that the play revolved around.
I throughly enjoyed this play and actually wanted to go see it a second time to see if I missed anything and can see anything else. Unfortunately I couldn’t, so I will have to fill in the gaps of the story I didn’t fully understand in my mind! Massu is quite talented and I really liked seeing him in a more dark role and a darker concept for acting that before. I think he did an amazing job, as did the rest of the cast.
*Disclaimer: This review is what I understood the play to be. I am still actively learning Japanese, so if I got something wrong about the play, please tell me so that I understand better! Thanks!*