ShadowLight Productions, in partnership with Fort Mason Center Presents, proudly announces the West Coast premiere of "Poro Oyna: The Myth of the Aynu," a collaborative undertaking featuring master musicians representing the indigenous Aynu community of Hokkaido, Japan. The Aynu are a people who are little known in the west. The project will provide the Bay Area audience with a rare opportunity to experience the mystery and power of this ancient culture through the prism of modern shadow theatre. "Poro Oyna" will be presented at the Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, January 15 – 19, 2014.
Poro Oyna, “the Great Story,” is an Aynu creation myth that evolves around the legend of Aynu Rakkur, who is a god who “looks and smells like a human.” He is considered to be the progenitor of human beings (“aynu”) and most powerful of all gods in the Aynu mythological world.
"Poro Oyna: The Myth of the Aynu" tells an episode from this legend where Aynu Rakkur rescues the Sun Goddess from the evil Monster, restoring the order in the land of humans. The story is adapted by Tetsuro Koyano, a multidisciplinary performer/shadow artist in Tokyo, and OKI, an Aynu culture bearer and musician specializing in the traditional string instrument tonkori. OKI also served as Art Director and created the original soundtrack interweaving modern renditions of traditional Aynu songs. "Poro Oyna" is directed by shadow master Larry Reed whose hallmark shadow casting method combines the Balinese Traditional shadow theatre aesthetic, the scale of film, and the immediacy of live performance. Performed using a cinema size screen, "Poro Oyna" will utilize silhouettes of puppets, masked-actors, and cutout sets. The play will also feature shadow design by Kawamura Koheisai and live performances by OKI and Marewrew, a 4-woman chorus group specializing traditional Aynu songs, and Urotsutenoyako Bayangans, a shadow theatre company based in Tokyo. "Poro Oyna" will be performed in Japanese and Aynu with English narration.