I took yet another trip to Fairfield Hall for the bizarre, laugh out loud, Oni. Mochinosha Puppet Company specializes in shadow puppets by Seri Yanai. Beautifully hand-crafted using cardboard and inspired by Japanese folklore, the puppets and performers share tales from Old Japan. Seri and her partner use a screen made of what appeared to be drum material and simply a spotlight to capture the tales and suspend the audience.
What you don’t know about Oni is that it is full of Shunga, or old Japanese erotica, modern renditions of old tales, by two witty and very entertaining individuals. The entirety of their tale revolves around the 3cm Issunboshi and his many misadventures and storytelling. Most of the show had me either laughing out loud or in disbelief at the dialogue. Oni was just plain entertaining. It was intimate, well performed, fascinating to watch the incredible detail in the puppets, and just overall a feel good show.
I don’t want to say too much about the show, as I think the description tells just enough and allowing the experience to happen made the show that much more entertaining. I feel like this is the type of performance that is slightly different for each audience, which is another perk of the show. If you want something a bit on the fringe, this show is for you.
Oni continues at the Fairfield Hall this weekend.