|Co-production||HANDSPAN VISUAL THEATRE & PLAYBOX THEATRE|
|Premiere||21 February, 2001|
|Venue||Merlyn Theatre, CUB Malthouse|
MISS TANAKA was written by John Romeril whose interest in and experience of Asian-Australian cross cultural relationships has created many theatrical works on the subject since his early, and now classic play, The Floating World (1974)
John was experienced in writing puppetry-based works, including Handspan Theatre's successful production for young audiences The Reading Boy (1991), and the original concept was for MISS TANAKA to be a puppetry-based work. The idea for the play was proposed by Noriko Nishimoto from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Western Australia and when the work was eventually taken on by Handspan and Playbox, Noriko joined the Melbourne-based creative team.
The co-production was directed by David Bell, Artistic Director at Handspan with Puppetry Consultant, Noriko Nishimoto, Designer, Greg Clarke and Composer, Darrin Verhagen for a season at the CUB Malthouse (Playbox's home) followed by a season the Optus Playhouse at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Melbourne in 2001.
Based on a story by Xavier Herbert of the brawl between rival pearl fishers, one Japanese and one Malay, the play is set in Broome in north-western Australia in 1939. Miss Tanaka is beautiful and mysterious and both pearlers fall in love with her in a folk tale of mistaken identity.
The opening scene was described:
The cast of Malay, Japanese, Aboriginal and Anglo-Australian performers were actors, dancers and puppeeters, accompanied by Taiko drumming musicians.
MISS TANAKA was the last new work produced by Handspan.
|Original concept||Noriko Nishimoto|
|Script consultant||David Bell|
|Puppetry consultant||Noriko Nishimoto|
|Puppet designer||Rob Matson|
|Lighting designer||David Walters|
|Costume designer||Greg Clarke|
|Stage manager||Natasha Marich|
|February - March 2001||CUB Malthouse, Melbourne (Previews (X 3) & Performances (x 21))|
|March 2001||Optus Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane (10 performances)|